Humility is the first step!

January 27, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
(James 4:10 (NKJV))

God knows sinful human nature far too well.

I believe that the hardest thing for anyone to be is humble. Ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, it is simply just not in our nature. In fact, the fall was because we were not able to be humble when we were told that we could be just like God. Satan dangled the carrot, or should I say the knowledge of good and evil, and we took the bait. If Adam and Eve had simply realized that they were the creation and that they were not, nor could they be God, then things would have happened so much differently than we have been told in God’s Word. Instead of being humble, Adam and Eve let pride take control and that got them cast away from God’s presence.

If that is the case, doesn’t it make perfect sense that if we are able to be humble, then that could be reversed?

It takes humility to admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior! It takes humility to admit that you are not capable of being God, and it takes humility to admit that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. When you are capable of humbling yourself before God, He reverses what sin caused and He lifts you up into a relationship with Him, just like the relationship He had with Adam and Eve before the fall.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:10 (NIV))

The English Standard Version translates that last part as “he will exalt you.” According to Merriam-Webster, when you are exalted, you are raised in rank, power, or character. You are elevated by praise or in esteem. Humanity was created to walk in fellowship with God. If you reflect on the Garden of Eden, it was not an angel who walked with them. It was God! Even the angels did not get this designation, this familial calling. If you humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, you will be exalted, you will be restored to God’s original plan. You will no longer be cast away because of your sin. In much the same way that the father embraced the prodigal son, our Father in heaven longs to embrace each of us when we humble return to Him!

Humility is the first step!

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How are you at treating each other with love?

January 20, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
(Matthew 7:12 (NIV))

Do you like it when others mistreat you?

I realize that this question is one that appears to have an obvious answer, still we often treat others in ways that we would never want to be treated ourselves. I believe that this is rooted in the fall from grace. Humanity was lied to and told that we could be like God, so now we apply the power without the compassion. We apply the authority without the understanding, and we provide the condemnation without the love. Human nature wants to do exactly the opposite of what God calls us to do. We have a tendency to place ourselves above everyone else, and because of this, we mistreat each other because we think that we are better than they are.

Wrong attitude!

We are no better than anyone else.

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

No matter what you may think of yourself, God sees the real you. He knows all of your sinful past, yet He loves you anyway. When He looks at humanity, He sees a sea of sinful, fallen people who all need a savior. He does not see certain people as better than others. He doesn’t treat anyone differently. What He does do is provide an opportunity of redemption to all who will simply profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Once this happens, He sees you as a redeemed child, but that redemption is nothing that should make us feel superior to anyone else. All that it means is in the sea of sinful, drowning people, we have gotten on the life boat. We should be reaching out to others offering to help them receive what we have received. We must show them the same compassion, understanding and love that we were shown as we found our salvation.

I want to challenge you to look at your actions during the next twenty-four hours. Pray to have your eyes opened to the instances where you treat others in a way that you would not want to be treated. Pray to be able to show God’s love in those situations instead of your shortcomings. I want you to also pray for those who mistreat you, for they may not realize what they do. It is said that it is hard to hate someone when you are praying for them. I think that we can also safely say that it is hard to mistreat someone when you are praying for them.

How are you at treating each other with love?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Why do we think we have it under control?

January 12, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
     and lean not on your own understanding;
(Proverbs 3:5 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes us think that we are smart enough to be the masters of our own fate? Why do we think that we can control anything in our lives when we can’t even control the events of a single day?

If you stop and analyze the fall from grace, it was a sin of pride. Humanity was tricked into wanting to be just like God, and as a result, all of human history has been about our feeble attempts to be our own gods, to be in control. We like the self-made man concept. We like the long shot. We like the one who bucks the status quo and does it there way. In fact, there was a very popular song titled “I Did it My Way!”

If you look at the history of humanity since the fall from grace, it has been a shambles. One person wants to be in control and the next thing we have is conflict due to the fact that what one person wants is not what another person wants. Everyone trusts only in themselves! Everyone is only looking out for the best interests of numero uno, number one, themselves.

Can you tell with one hundred percent certainty what a day will bring?

Can you tell with one hundred percent certainty that you will even live one more day?

If we are not capable of answering yes to these two questions, why do we only put stock in our own understanding? Why do we only trust in ourselves?

Take a look back on your life. We all have times where we feel that we are facing stress, and there are also times when we feel that we have a glimpse of peace. These is a very good probability that stress far outweighs any peace that you may have had due to your own endeavors. I have found that even in the midst of stress all that I need to do is turn it over to the Lord in prayer. I have found that He is so much better at being God than I am or could ever be.

To put it simply, let go and let God . . .

Why do we think we have it under control?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Hold fast to Jesus no matter what may come!

January 3, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
(Hebrews 10:23 (NIV))

Whether you are following the events of the world in relationship to Bible prophecy, or you are simply uncertain about the coming year, there has never been a better time to keep your eyes on Jesus!

Answer honestly.

Do you have a feeling from within your spirit that tells you that something is not as it should be in the world?

It seems as if things have been increasing in frequency and in magnitude over the last several years. Some people have even implied that they are also converging and the date of the convergence is rapidly approaching.

Needless to say that if you have professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you recognize that human nature is sinful. You have also recognized that you, by the fact that you are human, are sinful and in need of a Savior.

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

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

No matter whether prophecy is unfolding rapidly or slowly, Jesus is our only hope. No matter if we have abundance or are in need, Jesus is our only hope. No matter if the world sends us joy or pain, Jesus is our only hope. When we place our faith in Jesus, it doesn’t matter what may come in this world, for our hope is not of this world. Our hope is in the Lord God who created this world and in His Son Jesus who came into this world to give us this amazing hope that we now have!

Do you have this hope?

If not – Repent!

Run as fast as you can into the open arms of Jesus!

Hold fast to Jesus no matter what may come!

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Don’t live your life blindly following the blind!

June 13, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He also told them this parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.
(Luke 6:39-40 (NIV))

I often wonder if Jesus was referring to the events in human history that were yet to transpire when he spoke these words?

Think about these words with the perspective of today’s world. We either have the option of following and believing the world or we can follow Jesus. The world is lost. It is blinded by the sin that it so loves. If the wages of sin is death, then if you follow the blindness of the world, you will fall into the pit that is associated with sin. Do not cling to anyone or anything that leads you to anywhere but Jesus. Only Jesus can lead you out of the blindness of this sinful, fallen world. He is our teacher. He is our Lord and He is our Savior.

It should be with humility that we seek His face. It should be with humility that we seek to learn. It should be with humility that we face the fact that in this lifetime we will never be fully trained. In fact, even after an eternity in His presence, we will still be His creation. If we can embrace the truth that Jesus is the teacher, we will no longer desire to be blindly lead by this world.

If you have not accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, now is the time to repent.

Don’t live your life blindly following the blind!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What does God see in you?

June 3, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Pride goes before destruction,
     a haughty spirit before a fall.
(Proverbs 16:18 (NIV))

We have seen a lot about pride in recent years, and it seems to be on the increase in just the last few years. Add to this a haughty spirit and we should be expecting something that will bring the unbelieving world to it’s knees.

Have you ever looked up the definition of the word “haughty”? You may be in for an awakening once you realize the depth of the meaning of the word. According to Merriam-Webster, haughty is being blatantly and disdainfully proud : having or showing an attitude of superiority and contempt for people or things perceived to be inferior.

Does this sound anything like our society and our world today? We see the “in your face” attitudes and utter contempt and hatred for anything or anyone related to Jesus.

Basically, if you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you are looked upon as inferior and you are looked upon with contempt. The prideful spirit of this world looks upon anything that is contrary to what they desire as inferior. What they desire is sin and if you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, what you desire is completely contrary to what the world desires.

I find it interesting that we know that the ways of this world are always completely opposite of what God desires. We are told to humble ourselves. The world says to be proud of who you are. We are told to love our neighbors as ourselves. The world tells us to hate those who are different from us, to hate those who don’t believe as we do. We are told to see others first and ourselves last. The world tells us to go for it because we deserve it.

Sadly, I believe that the non believing, sinful world has become exceedingly prideful and haughty to the point that we are seeing what was written of in 2 Timothy.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
(2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NIV))

It is God’s desire that we are blatantly humble and righteous in His eyes.

What does God see in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you placed your faith in what endures forever?

February 21, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”
(Isaiah 40:8 (NIV))

If you have spent many years in this world, you understand that seasons change and with the changing seasons, what we took for granted in the spring and summer slowly starts to fade in the fall. and is completely gone by winter. The green grass that we used as a carpet for our springtime and summer activities soon turns brown. The beauty of the flowers fades as the last petal falls leaving only a stem that will also soon wither and die. Each day that we look in the mirror finds us growing older and soon, the face that we see starring back at us is so much different from the face that we remember from our youth.

It is often said that time is a cruel mistress. It takes the things that are beautiful and turns them to something we don’t recognize. It takes the things that we love and makes them old and run down.

Nothing in this physical world endures! Even the biggest structures in the world deteriorate and fall apart.

Thankfully, we have a hope that is not of this world! We have a hope that is firmly rooted in someone who is greater than the world.

But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—
(Psalms 103:17 (NIV))

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.
(Psalms 145:13 (NIV))

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
(Isaiah 9:6 (NIV))

Our hope is forever and everlasting. It is limitless in time and continues indefinitely. Is that something that our human minds can truly comprehend? We are finite. He is infinite. We are mortal. He is immortal. We are the creation. He is the Creator. We are destined to die. He has overcome death! We often follow lies. He is the only truth. We are sinful by nature. He is righteousness!

If there is something that endures forever, I am so thankful that it is His word, for our thoughts and actions without Him are destined to wither and die.

Have you placed your faith in what endures forever?

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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There are no exceptions!

August 6, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

Yes, all truly does mean all. It literally means everyone. There are no exceptions! Every newborn baby to the oldest person alive all fall under this category simply because of humanity’s sinful, fallen nature. This is the only time that I agree with the statement that we were born this way, for we are all born as sinners in need of a savior.

There are consequences for our sin!

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

But, God. . .

Our loving heavenly Father has a plan of redemption. He has a gift that is freely given to all who will simply accept. No amount of money can purchase this gift. No amount of work can earn this gift. This gift is of immeasurable value, yet it is freely given. That is why believers cling to the next truth that comes after the explanation that we are all sinners.

and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
(‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:24‬ ‭(NIV‬‬))

We are all justified!

I once had someone tell me a good definition of justified and I have remembered it to this day. “Just if I’d” never sinned! We may all fall short of the glory of God because of our sinful nature, but because of the gift of grace freely given through the cross, we can all claim that redemption and be restored “just if I’d” never sinned. There is one important thing to pay attention to. Just as all have sinned, all are justified. We were all born into sin, and we can all be born again completely justified. It is your choice.

There are no exceptions!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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All truly means everyone!

June 1, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

Do you think that you are a good person?

What is your basis for your answer and who are you comparing yourself to?

Human nature is a strange thing. We have a tendency to look at each other and compare ourselves to what we see and then base our personal analysis on how we compare to others. We claim that we are not murderers, thieves or adulterers, but we fail to recognize that these sins that are big in our eyes are the same as the small sins in the eyes of God. Have you ever borrowed an ink pen and then kept it? Have you ever longed to have the nice car or big house that you friends have?

Basically, it all comes down to pride!

Every single person who has ever lived has been guilty of thinking that they are better than everyone else in at least one thing if not more. What we fail to realize is that God doesn’t judge us by comparing us to each other. He judges us by comparing us to His standard of righteousness as embodied in Jesus. When we look past each other and start comparing ourselves to Jesus, hopefully we will see our shortcomings and turn to Jesus to repent and seek salvation.

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
(Romans 3:10b (NIV))

We must look to Jesus as the benchmark. He is the role model. He not only showed us what is expected, He paved the way to receive salvation based on His ability to do what we could not.

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))

No matter what you may think of yourself, we are all sinners in need of a savior. For those of you who like to play with semantics, all only has one true meaning.

All truly means everyone!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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