How is your hearing?

June 30, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

How did you come to faith in Jesus?

I realize that this is a rhetorical question, since someone had to tell you about the saving grace that could be yours through the atoning blood of Jesus. I do not know anyone who simply woke up one morning with a newfound faith in Jesus. I do realize that Jesus has made appearances to people in countries where the Gospel is banned, but even these newfound believers heard the Gospel before coming to faith.

In essence, someone had to share the Gospel in order for someone else to receive it! They had to explain that we are all born sinners and that the wages of sin is death. They had to explain that God loved the world and sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the price for our sins. Someone had to explain that because that price was paid by a sinless man, we have the ability to have our sins forgiven so that we can stand in God’s presence with our sin debt fully paid! That is how someone comes to faith in Jesus!

But, what is faith?

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV))

When you think of something of substance, you think of truth. You think of solidness. You think of something that is satisfying. When you think of evidence, you think of undeniable facts.

Another translation states it like this.

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

When you think of confidence, you think of undeniable truth and strength. You might even say that it borders on assuredness. I love how this translation ties that together in the next part of the passage. We have assurance, a firm foundation built upon a promise, that what we believe is true.

Faith is built upon the hope that we have in Jesus. There is evidence to support what we profess. It is documented in the Gospels. It is documented by other historians. We are confident in what we profess. We have placed ourselves squarely and solely on the promises that God has given to us. We have a firm foundation with Jesus as our cornerstone!

How is your hearing?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you like a great mystery?

June 23, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
(1 Corinthians 15:51 (NIV))

Perhaps this is one of those mysteries of the faith that we cannot fully understand until it happens. Whatever does transpire, it is a promise that we have to hold onto even when all around us is chaos and uncertainty.

God loves us!

He loves us enough to have sent Jesus to die for our transgressions. If God allowed that to happen because of His love for us, then what else does He have in store for us? The Bible has given us many promises, and it also tells us that they are all “Yes” through Jesus.

We don’t know when the last trumpet will sound, but we do know that if it is written in God’s Word, then it will happen.

We do not fully understand at this time, but there will come a time when we will see clearly just what God has for us. Perhaps that is why things like this are referred to as mysteries of the faith. We choose to believe even though we may not understand.

Do you like a great mystery?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The kingdom of God is near!

June 10, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
(Luke 21:29-31 (NIV))

Are you paying attention?

God is trying to get our attention. For those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, He is calling us to recognize the signs. For those who shun Him, He is calling them to repentance by shaking up the world in an effort to get their attention. No matter which group you consider yourself to be in, God is calling us to recognize the times and to look to Jesus!

There are so many things unfolding in this world at this specific time in history that if I presented everything that correlates to and supports the widely held belief that the time of the end is here, then I would need to write nonstop relaying everything that is happening all around the world. It is too much for one person to even attempt to undertake, so I prayerfully ask you to seek the Holy Spirit for discernment and wisdom. The proverbial fig tree is sprouting leaves!

Are you so engrossed in your daily lives that you miss what is unfolding right before your eyes?

Are you so engrossed in the media distractions that you miss the true news and events of significance in this world?

Are you more aware of who was awarded what in the recently televised defamation lawsuits than you are aware of the vast number of food processing plants burning to the ground?

Jesus refers to those who believe in Him as His flock. He seeks and saves the lost sheep of the flock. There appears to be another flock that people can be part of, especially when you consider that sheep are considered to be mindless and will follow anything that distracts them. Don’t be distracted by the world. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

The kingdom of God is near!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How is your attitude through all of the world’s troubles?

April 27, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
(James 1:2 (NIV))

I think that the enemy is testing our ability to find joy under trial. Perhaps I should rephrase that to say that I know that the enemy is testing our ability to find joy under trial. Personally, I do not see how anyone who does not profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior can make it through what we have been through and what I am certain that we will be going through in the not too distant future.

When we face trials of many kinds, we must have joy.

When we face worldly uncertainty, we must have joy.

When we face persecution, we must have joy.

In all circumstances, whether good or bad, as believers in Jesus, we must have joy, for He is our joy.

“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))

If we profess a faith in Jesus and we do not have joy, what does that say about our faith? What does that say about our relationship with Jesus? Jesus told us to rejoice and be glad! Jesus told us that if we follow Him, we would face persecution. Thankfully, we have His promises to stand firm in.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV))

How is your attitude through all of the world’s troubles?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you believe that Jesus is Lord?

April 19, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
(Romans 10:9 (NIV))

I can’t think of a better passage of scripture to follow up with after the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus!

The resurrection sets the stage for this passage, for without the resurrection, the claims made are nothing more than wishful thinking. But, because Jesus is alive, we can make this profession of faith knowing that it is absolutely true. We can say that “Jesus is Lord” without any doubt in our minds. We can believe, actually, we can know with absolute certainty that God raised Jesus from the dead. We can have the faith to not only say that “Jesus is Lord,” we can also have the faith to know that our salvation is assured because of His death, burial and triumphant resurrection.

What is faith?

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

Even though we live some two thousand years after the resurrection, are you truly confident that Jesus arose from the dead? Are you truly confident that Jesus is God’s perfect sacrificial lamb to atone for your sins? Are you truly confident in your eternal future because of this proclamation?

If Jesus is your personal Lord and Savior, then each of us are called to do one thing as we walk out our life of faith. Just as Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, He is telling us the very same thing.

“Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:11b (NIV))

If you profess that Jesus is Lord, then by definition a lord is one who has power and authority over you. If you profess that Jesus is Lord and He has told you to leave your life of sin, are you being obedient? I realize that we are only human and that we will fail, but we must possess a desire to strive for this sinless life. When we fail, we must repent. We must keep our eyes focused on Jesus for salvation is found in no other name?

Do you believe that Jesus is Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you allowed Jesus to truly live in you?

April 8, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
(Galatians 2:20a (NIV))

I can safely say that I don’t know anyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior who does not firmly believe this passage. It is very assuring to think that the Son of God is resident within our lives. Too many people stop at this part of the passage and ignore the remaining aspects that we are to then live accordingly. We are to live out our lives with a confidence, with an assurance that we have placed our faith correctly.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
(Galatians 2:20 (NIV))

We are to give up our previous lives. We are to surrender our sinful nature and exchange it for His righteousness as we walk out each moment of each day of our new lives. We are a new creation and our lives must reflect that! If Christ lives in you, you must allow Him to go to the fullness of His remaking of you in His image. You must wholeheartedly live out the concept of He must increase and I must decrease. Fully submitting to this allows the old, sinful you to be replaced with the righteousness of Jesus.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
(2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV))

Have you experienced the removal of old habits from your life? Have you experienced a renewing of our heart? Have you experienced a desire to grow in your faith in Jesus? Is Jesus fully at home within you?

Have you allowed Jesus to truly live in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is this easier said than done?

April 5, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

What is your reaction to these simple words?

Is this easier said than done?

Most of us think that we are good at putting our faith into action, but if we are serious with ourselves, we fail miserably more often than not. If we were good at putting our faith into action, the pain-in-the-neck next door neighbor wouldn’t be such a pain. If we were good at putting our faith into action, the homeless would not be in need of anything. If we were good at putting our faith into action, the people who don’t look like us would be welcome in our homes and in our churches.

I honestly am not trying to ruffle feathers. What I am trying to do is make a case that all of us need improvement. We all need to still take lessons from Jesus on how to live according to His word. When we give up pursuing actions that follow His word, then we have become members of the group who have heard but do not do what it says.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
(James 1:23-25 (NIV))

Do you intentionally want to be a part of this group, or has society distracted you to the point where you are unintentionally doing what is wrong in the Lord’s eyes? Is it time to take a long, hard look at your life and your faith? Are you spending time daily in His Word? Are you spending time daily in prayer? Are you spending time daily sharing the Gospel to those who are in need?

I want to share a redeeming thought with you. Out of all of history, only Jesus was able to perfectly do what the Word says to do. He was the only one who didn’t miss the mark. He was the only one who did not sin. When you find that you aren’t doing what you know that you should be doing, simply turn to Jesus and repent. Pray for insight and wisdom so that you can mature into His image. Never simply turn away. Always turn toward Jesus!

Living in this world is hard. Following Jesus is hard, but it is definitely better than not following Jesus. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and know that you will makes mistakes.

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is love your goal?

March 15, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
(2 Peter 1:5-7 (NIV))

As believers, we look at these qualities and desire to possess them, to make them an integral part of our lives, but have you ever thought of them as stepping stones to the ultimate godly characteristic? If you read the passage as it was written, they build one upon the other until you get to the desired end – love!

What do you think of when you hear the word “love?”

Is love the ultimate desire in your life or is your life tainted by the world’s definition of love? Do you associate love only with romantic or familial affection? Perhaps you are capable of extending love to those beyond your initial inner circle and can show love to people who are merely acquaintances. Is there more to what God defines as love?

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 1:8 (NIV))

Do you realize that this can be summarized as follows? If you do not show love as God defines love, then you have an ineffective and unproductive partial knowledge of Jesus!

Ouch!

Did that hit home?

I know that it does for me.

We like to think that God would have sent Jesus into this world if we had been the only sinner in need of a Savior, and, to be completely honest with you, I am sure that He would have. However, we are not the only one who needed a Savior.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

God’s love is available to any who will simple accept it, but we are not called to hold onto it for ourselves. That is completely selfish and shows a total lack of love. We are called to show God’s love to others. It is God’s desire for us to mature in our faith so that we can be a witness to anyone and everyone whom we meet. That should also be our desire, our goal in our walk of faith.

Is love your goal?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you standing firm in your faith in Jesus?

February 8, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
(Matthew 24:13 (NIV))

There is an old saying that if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.

I believe that Joshua had it right when he addressed the Israelites at Shechem. He challenged them to serve the Lord. He challenged them to stand with the Lord in all that they would do. He told them that they needed to make a choice and he told them what his choice was going to be.

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
(Joshua 24:15 (NIV))

Sadly, we know the history of the number of times that the Israelites did not stand with the Lord. We know the consequences of them going after other gods. We know the consequences of them forsaking His commands. We know the consequences of their rebellion. In essence, after a few generations, they no longer stood firm in their faith, and as we repeatedly read, they were divided, they were exiled and they were abandoned by the Lord because they had abandoned Him. They had experience the power and the truth and yet they fell for any and all distractions that they were presented with. They lost sight of the Lord and found that their eyes and their hearts wandered to the follies of the world.

The events of the last several years are ever present in our minds as we look to what can and probably will unfold in the future. If we don’t keep our eyes focused on Jesus, if we don’t stand firm in our faith, we can easily fall for the lies of the enemy. What do you see in your life as you look to the future? Do you see uncertainty, lies and trouble or do you see Jesus? We must not lose sight of the truths presented by Paul. We must stand firm in our faith in Jesus or we will fall for false gods just as the Israelites did.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
(Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV))

Are you standing firm in your faith in Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How is your faith?

January 21, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
(James 1:2-3 (NIV))

Has your faith been tested over the last few years?

With all that is going on in the world, most of which is not even on our radar, many people are struggling. I recently read a report that death rates for young men in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties is up by an astronomical percentage. I don’t recall the percentage of suicides within this group, but it is one of the biggest causes of death. This is sad in and of itself, but what I find the saddest about this statistic is that this generation is the first to be completely raised in a school system after prayer was removed from schools. This was the generation that had no moral foundation instilled in them. Many of their parents were in the generation that received some moral foundation, yet, they did not receive enough to realize the importance of what they were missing. Their children did not receive even the little amount that their parents received.

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))

The events of the last few years have not been easy for anyone, especially those who do not profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. All that they see is the world and, as a result, they are left feeling helpless, hopeless and lost.

Has your faith grown? Has your faith matured over the last few years? Have you dug deeper into prayer and God’s Word during these troubling times? Have you found yourself relying on God’s promises even when you see no possible promising outcome from a worldly perspective? Let’s face facts. The last few years have been very troubling, but we have been given a promise that we must cling to.

“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 have the faith to know beyond any doubt that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. We must have the faith to know beyond any doubt that even though we are sinners, we have a risen Savior and His name is Jesus. We must have the faith to know beyond any doubt that all of His promises are “Yes.” We must have the faith to know beyond any doubt to keep our eyes focused on Jesus and that through Him, we will persevere.

How is your faith?

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