Are you still in darkness?

March 29, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
(John 12:46 (NIV))

When you are trapped in the dark, it is impossible to find your way. You can’t tell which way to turn. You can’t locate a way out. Any step that you take will probably end up with you stumbling and falling. Too many attempts on your own will end up with you being hurt and possibly seriously endangering others. The only way that you can find a way out of this darkness is if someone from outside of the darkness is able to shine a light into the darkness so that you can see the exit.

Does this sound familiar?

Sin has each of us trapped in the darkness and far too many of us don’t ever realize it. Every effort that we make to find our way just seems to get us in deeper and deeper. When left to our own attempts, we can never figure out which way to turn. We simply can’t locate a way out of our sin. The more that we try to deal with the darkness of this sinful world, the more that we hurt ourselves and others.

What if someone would shine a light in the darkness of this world so that we could find a way into the light?

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 (NIV))

Jesus stepped out of heaven and into the darkness of this world to show us the light. He has shown us a way to escape the darkness of sin and death. He has provided a light for us to follow so that we can escape the darkness and live eternally in the light!

But, . . .

It doesn’t stop there.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
(Matthew 5:14 (NIV))

We are to share the light so that others may find their way out of the darkness.

If you were in a burning building and many lives were at stake, wouldn’t you lead others to safety once someone had shown you the way?

Are you following the light? Are you leading others to the light, or are you still in darkness?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How are you at keeping the law?

January 26, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
(Galatians 5:14 (NIV))

How many people do you know who say that they love God, but their words and deeds give away that they do not love people? They do not love those they encounter. They may even go out of their way to avoid certain individuals or certain groups of people. I am sure that we are all familiar with the following story that Jesus told to a so called expert in the law.

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
(Luke 10:29-37 (NIV))

Have we heeded the lesson and truly learned to love our neighbor?

Has society told us to distrust and hate those who are different from us?

Does this sound like an attack from the enemy? Satan knows that if he can get us to hate each other, then we will have lost sight of what God truly desires for those who call Him Lord. We will fail at keeping the most important command in His law.

How are you at keeping the law?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What will the Lord find in you?

January 24, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.
(Jeremiah 17:10 (NIV))

When you are searching through a place that you thought you were familiar with, are you ever surprised by what you find?

Perhaps you found an old baseball glove in the back of your closet. Maybe you found a picture from your high school prom. You may have even found a letter from someone whom you thought you could never live without. Each of us have things like this that appear every now and then and completely catch us off guard.

What happens when we go digging through our heart? Do we find things that we thought had been lost only to find that they are still very prominent in our lives? Are we ever surprised by the thoughts that we keep locked away? We think that we have overcome them, but they are always there just below the surface. What reactions do these things bring out of us when they materialize once again in our lives? Are we guilty of trying to hide these things from ourselves so that we don’t have to deal with them?

We may think that we can hide them. We may even be capable of fooling ourselves for a time, but unless we lay them at the foot of the cross, they are still a part of our lives. We choose to hold onto them instead of turning them over to the Lord. If we confess them as sin, we can repent. If we repent, we are making a decision to leave it behind. If we choose to leave our sin behind, then we should focus on Jesus. We should fill our hearts and our minds with the knowledge of the Lord.

Have you found something in your heart or in your mind that you long to be rid of? Lay it at the foot of the cross!

What will the Lord find in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How do you want to live?

May 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For we live by faith, not by sight.
(2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV))

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night to find that the power was out? As you lay there contemplating your next move, you decide to go ahead and get up knowing all too well that you will probably end up stubbing a toe or two. As you gingerly move to your destination, you start to realize that you are so familiar with the path that subconsciously you know how many steps to take in each direction. You can’t see a thing, but you find yourself at your destination completely unscathed. You have placed your trust in something besides what you can see.

Living a life where you decide to follow Jesus is a situation that is not too dissimilar to what I just described.

When we first believe, we step out all too gingerly not sure of our footing as we move forward. With each step that we take where Jesus leads, we begin to understand that our footing is on solid ground as long as we walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Just as in the situation previously described, we begin to trust. We begin to have faith that we will make it if we simply do not lose our focus. Walking by faith requires a focus. We may not see where Jesus is leading, but if we focus on Him and place all of our trust in Him, then we build the faith to walk where He leads even though we may not see where He leads.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live my life knowing that I can see the end from the beginning. I want to live my life having the faith that if I step out when God calls, then each step will lead to where He wants me to be.

How do you want to live?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for the return of Jesus?

May 6, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
(John 14:1-4 (NIV))

This passage presents several questions for those who profess a faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Your answers may surprise you!

First, I need to lay a little ground work. If you are familiar with traditional Jewish weddings, once the bride was betrothed, or engaged, the bridegroom would then go back to his father’s house and start to build or prepare a room for he and his bride. When the room was finished, he would come for his bride. This is reflected in the parable of the lamps and the oil. No one knew the day or the hour the bridegroom would come for his bride. She simply knew that at some point in time, he would return for her.

Does this sound familiar? It sounds identical to the promises that Jesus made to His bride, the body of believers.

Do you trust in God?

Do you trust in Jesus?

Do you firmly believe that Jesus is preparing a place for you?

Do you know beyond doubt that Jesus will return for you?

I want you to think about the following passage and what it has to say in regard to those who are not ready.

“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others also came. `Sir! Sir!’ they said. `Open the door for us!’
“But he replied, `I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
(Matthew 25:10-12 (NIV))

One last and very important question for you!

If you believe and answered “Yes” to the previous questions, and you are not ready, what does that tell you will happen?

Are you ready for the return of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you feel like a stranger in this world?

December 5, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
(1 Peter 2:11-12 (NIV))

By definition, an alien is someone who is in a land that is not their own home land. They feel out of place and long to return to familiar countryside where sites and sounds will not be an occasion to constantly try and figure out what is going on. Their home land will bring familiarity and peace.

How do you feel in this world? Do you feel at home and part of the crowd, or do you long for a place that you have never been to, but yet, you still know is home?

A person who is not in their home land is under constant scrutiny. Everyone looks at them to see how they will react in any given situation, after all, they may not be familiar with the local customs. It is almost always a guaranteed good show to watch an alien try to maneuver through a setting that they are not familiar with. With this in mind, it is human nature to watch the “new kid” or the “stranger” to see what they will do and how they will make a fool of themselves.

We may be strangers in this land, for our home is not of this world, but, we have a tour guide who will assist us in our daily walk among the strangers. That guide is the Holy Spirit. He will guide us in what to say and do, and maybe even more importantly, He will guide us in what not to say and do. He will instruct us in the ways that are appropriate for any situation. He will lead us in a pure direction if we will only listen to His guidance. To hear His guidance, we must have allowed Him into our lives in the same manner that we allow Jesus into our lives. Jesus becomes our Lord and Savior and the Holy Spirit becomes our instructor in righteousness.

What does the world see when they see you? Are you a stranger or are you embraced by the world?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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