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.
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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.
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We have been given a savior and His name is Jesus!

December 18, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more.
(Job 9:33-34 (NIV))

I think that I can safely say that a passage from Job was probably the last thing that anyone expected to be tied to Christmas, but all that you have to do is read the words recorded to see that Job prayed for Jesus to come!

With all that Job faced, he longed for someone to be able to do exactly what Jesus came into the world to do. Even without Jesus, Job never denied God. He never strayed from his faith no matter the circumstances and no matter what his wife or his friends suggested. Do we possess such faith? In a few days we will be celebrating the birth of the very one that Job prayed for. We can read about the birth of Jesus. We can read about His life, His ministry and the miracles that He performed. We can read about the crucifixion and the resurrection, but with all that we have, do we take it for granted? Do we look at Jesus as just another set of stories about someone who lived a long time ago, or do we embrace the promises fulfilled in and through Jesus?

With what we have faced this year, we think that we have been through a lot, but have we? Have we lost our health? Have we been ostracized by society? Have we lost all of our possessions? Have we lost our livelihood? Have we lost all of our children? All of this happened to Job in a single day, yet he never lost faith. He knew that God is good and he knew that God is worthy of our praise even in the midst of troubles.

Christmas is in just a few days. Can each of us proclaim that no matter what has come our way this year, God is still to be praised? Are we able to be filled with joy knowing that the mediator that Job prayed for has been sent? Are we filled with the joy of the Lord, or are we filled with the terror of the world? Unlike Job, we have been given testimony about the mediator.

We have been given a savior and His name is Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you have the faith to praise God even in hardship?

December 10, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
(Job 1:21 (ESV))

Would you be able to praise the Lord even if you were in a situation similar to that of Job?

Could you find the faith to praise God even in the midst of hardship?

These are good questions for each of us to consider when things are normal. With everything that is going on in the world at this point in history, it is rapidly becoming a topic that we, as the Body of Christ, must take very seriously. Things are unfolding at a rate that only a few short years ago would seem almost impossible. It is important that we remember that this world is fleeting. It is also important to remember that the enemy is the prince of the earth. He longs to be worshipped and to destroy all who worship the true Lord.

I want to pose a scenario for your consideration. You are going on a journey and on this journey you must drive through some unpleasant areas in order to get to your promised destination. Arriving at this destination will result in you receiving an inheritance of untold value. Do you take a look at the unpleasant surroundings and give up on the destination because of your current location, or do you remember the promise and keep going? What happens if you have a flat tire along the way? Do you give up or do you hunker down, change the tire and keep moving? What if it cost you everything that you have in order to reach your destination? Would you give up, or would you go?

I love the way that this concept is presented not once, but twice, within Matthew.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
(Matthew 13:44 (NIV))

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
(Matthew 13:45-46 (NIV))

Job knew this joy. Job knew this truth! Even when he faced hardship, Job knew where his true treasure was to be found.

We will all face hardships during this physical life. We must remember that this life is only a journey. Through Jesus, we have a promised destination that is amazing! We must not lose site of this promise. We must not take our eyes off of the Lord!

“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 praise Him even when we are facing worldly hardships. We must praise Him for overcoming the world.

Do you have the faith to praise God even in hardship?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you filled with confidence and assurance?

November 12, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

With everything that is going on in the world, we see countless things that go against everything that we hope for. We see so much that goes against what God calls righteous and good. It has come to a point that many may begin to wonder if they have misplaced their faith. It is so easy to become blinded to the truth if all that we focus on are the lies of the world!

I have found myself focusing on faith quite often lately. The topic comes to mind every time that I see more news about the current state of our nation and the world. I have to remind myself that even though God created this world, it has been turned over to sin and depravity. We may find fleeting glimpses of beauty, but the true beauty has long faded and deteriorated from what God first created. It is at these moments that I remind myself of the truth that we may live in this world but we are not of this world. We must never lose sight of this truth. We must forever keep our eyes fixed on Jesus!

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
(1 John 2:15-16 (NIV))

What we are seeing is a direct result of the love of the world. Stand firm, for we are not of this world. Life is a gift. That gift was tarnished and corrupted. We may see hardships. We may even experience hardships, but we must remember that this physical world is not what is important. No matter what we may face in this world, what matters is that we keep our eyes focused on Jesus, for where we focus is where we get our strength.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
(2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (NIV))

If we can stay focused on Jesus, then we can inherit His authority over the world.

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))

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
(1 John 5:5 (NIV))

Are you filled with confidence and assurance?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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It takes faith to turn to God and that pleases Him!

November 11, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
(Hebrews 11:6 (NIV))

I’ve read this particular passage many times and I thought that I understood it, but recently I had an epiphany. I had a new understanding of this passage and I don’t understand why the obvious had not made itself known to me before. It all starts with a fresh understanding of faith.

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

Have you ever seen God? Are you confident that He exists? If you firmly believe that He exists, that is faith. In this physical world, it takes faith to even acknowledge that God exists. If you do not possess faith the size of a mustard seed, then it is impossible for your mind to even conceive of the idea of God. Faith is the key! Without faith, God doesn’t exist in your heart or in your mind. You have made a decision to shun the Creator of all things! That breaks the very heart of God, for He longs to draw each of us closer to Himself. It only takes a little faith to grow the idea that God is real. Once you have the faith to make this proclamation, you have taken the first step in your journey with the Lord. Each step of that journey draws you closer to the Lord and builds a stronger faith. It pleases the Lord when you draw closer to Him. It pleases the Lord as your faith matures.

How do you grow faith?

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
(Romans 10:17 (NKJV))

We must spend time daily in His Word, for His Word is His heart! When we know His Word, we know Him intimately.

Do you possess a faith that seeks intimacy with the Lord?

It takes faith to turn to God and that pleases Him!

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