Going into all the world!

September 8, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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
(Matthew 28:19 (NIV))

Please bear with me while I do two things that I hate to do.

1. Toot my own horn, sorta!
In all honesty, I am tooting God’s horn for what He has done through me.
2. Ask for help.
This ministry has been a passion of mine and it is not done for the money.
Unfortuantely, there are expenses.

Daily Living Ministries exists to allow people to stop and reflect on their relationship with the Lord and how to live out that relationship in this world.

This year, like the last several years, has been interesting. I am seeing more people being reached, with the latest country count showing in blue in the Google Analytics image map above. Many of these visitors are coming from countries where expressing a faith in Jesus can bring severe persecution and even death. This map only reflects the visitors to the main web site. It does not take into account these emails, the backup blog site, or the social media platforms that these devotional are shared on.

Daily Living Ministries is a small ministry that is having an impact. The budget is small, but the impact far exceeds the money spent.

However, recent events have presented an opportunity. A storm managed to take out the computer that belongs to the ministry. This computer was on a battery backup, but it still managed to make it nonfunctional. I have an automated backup system, so nothing was lost. I just don’t have complete access to my 25 years of notes since I don’t have a computer with enough capacity to restore the backup. I have been able to hobble together the very basics to keep writing and sending the devotionals, but nothing else.

Lord, You are faithful. Help me to be faithful. Help me to be obedient!

It is my prayer, Lord, that you draw me closer to you! I only want to know your heart.

Lord, if you don’t lead me to it, I don’t want to do it!

If you have been touched by Daily Living Ministries, please reply and let me know.

I also prayerfully ask that if you can contribute to assist with the unexpected expenses, please help to keep Daily Living Ministries going into all the world!

In Jesus’ Holy Name,
Dennis Smock

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you do in secret?

September 1, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:6 (NIV))

As believers, we are told not to forsake the assembly, but we are also told to do things in secret so that only the Father knows what we do. There are certain things that our Father wants us to do in secret, for if we do them in public, they will draw attention to us. If attention is drawn to us because of what we do, are we doing these things for the right reason? Are we simply doing them because we become the center of attention?

It is human nature to like attention. Personally, I believe that this comes as a result of the fall from grace. We long to be accepted. We long to have the praise of others, but in all honesty, what we truly seek is to fill that God-shaped hole that we all have because of the fall from grace. The proverbial fifteen minutes of fame is something that we all like because it makes us feel accepted. It makes us feel loved. It makes us feel important.

It is for this reason that Jesus tells us to not be like that.

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
(Matthew 6:1-5 (NIV))

If you want to have a conversation with someone whom you love, do you loudly and publicly say what you want to say or do you find a quiet, private place to share what is on your heart? Do you share the secrets of your heart so that all will see and hear, or do you share them only with the one for whom they are intended.

Your life is God’s gift to you. Your salvation is God’s gift to you. What you do with your life and how you live your life is your gift to God. He loves you. He longs for a loving two-way relationship with you. For those of you who had siblings, you know that you cherished the alone time with just you and a parent. Did you have little “secret” things that you did, such as fishing, baseball games, or movies? These things are what others would not understand. Family time is great, but there is something special about one on one. With that in mind, we must remember that God is our Father and He wants us to have that secret time with Him.

What do you do in secret?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will you be like Caleb and Joshua and enter into God’s promises?

August 5, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Not one of you will enter the land I swore with uplifted hand to make your home, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.
(Numbers 14:30 (NIV))

I was given a history lesson that I feel that I need to share with you from a perspective that most of us are not aware of.

We all know the story of how Moses sent people into the land that God had promised to give them so that they could spy out the land. When they returned, all but Caleb and Joshua report that the land is unconquerable. As a result, the people rebelled and cried out to be taken back to Egypt. What we read in Numbers 14:30 is part of God’s response to this rebellion, to this very public display of their distrust of God. What we don’t know as part of the Gentile world is the historical date that this happened on. Here is where I started to learn something of extreme interest. This event occurred on the 9th of Av in the Hebrew calendar.

We all know about Solomon’s Temple which is also known as the First Temple. It was destroyed in 423 BC by an invading army. Israel had rejected God and would not repent. They had fallen into sin. If you made the assumption that Solomon’s Temple was destroyed on the 9th of Av, you would be correct.

The Second Temple, the one present at the time of Jesus, was destroyed by the Romans in 69 AD after Israel had rejected Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus called them hypocrites for doing all of the right things for the wrong reasons. Once again, this happened on the 9th of Av.

There are numerous other events that have all happened on the 9th of Av.
– The Jews were expelled from England in 1290 AD.
– The Jews were banished from Spain in 1492 AD.
– World War I began in 1914 AD. Some historians believe that WWII and the holocaust were actually a continuation of WWI.

It is said that once you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you become a temple for the Holy Spirit. Please don’t twist this. I am trying to convey a point without going into all of the details. In essence, the Holy Spirit comes to live in us.

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
(John 14:15-21 (NIV))

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
(John 14:25-27 (NIV))

Based on the history of the importance of this date and the proposed explanations of the Temples:
– Solomon’s Temple was destroyed because of the Jews rejecting or turning away from God the Father,
– The Second Temple was destroyed because the Jews rejecting Jesus as the Son,
– It has been speculated that the temple to the Holy Spirit, the true church, will be removed, Harpazoed, Raptured, on the 9th of Av because those who don’t profess a faith in Jesus have not only rejected Jesus, they have rejected the Holy Spirit!

Just for reference, a day in the Jewish tradition is marked from sundown of one day to sundown, or nightfall, of the next day. I find it interesting that many people believe the phrase “in the twinkling of an eye” is accurately used to indicate nightfall. This is when the sun vanishes and a last twinkle of light is seen! Think of that in terms of when Jesus said that we are the light of the world!

I am not setting dates, only presenting what I have recently seen. It is a very intriguing series of events that God has unfolded all on the same day in the Hebrew calendar. No matter what the date may be, we must be ready. If you are not ready, it is as simple as ABC.

Admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

Believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

Call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

Are you ready? Will you be like Caleb and Joshua and enter into God’s promises?

Click here if you are curious as to when the 9th of Av falls in our calendar for the next few years.

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Honor and praise to God and to those who answer His call!

May 31, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
(John 12:25-26 (NIV))

I have sent this before, but I believe that it merits another visit.

Think back on the history of this country.

Have we ever had a time when a king or a dictator forced anyone to fight and die? Have we ever had a time when we turned tail and ran from the responsibilities that we have been given? We owe our country to our faith in God and to the brave men and women who were willing to sacrifice everything for the principles that our country is founded upon.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Think about that verse.

Our nation was founded by people who were seeking something. Some came seeking adventure. Some came seeking opportunity. But, many were seeking freedom to worship God as they saw fit. It was this freedom that became an integral part of our nation’s mindset. We were founded by people who saw something that they didn’t agree with and were willing to do something about it.

Some spoke out about the things that they saw. Others rallied people behind them. Many gave their lives to battle the very things that they saw as oppressive. We have never been a country to shy away from doing what is right. We have been driven by a desire to see God’s love, grace and mercy prevail. It is true that some people may not have known Jesus as their Lord and Savior, yet they had an inner feeling about right and wrong. It was part of our culture and our society. They answered the call many times even before they knew there was a call.

They gave it all. They were willing to lay down their lives so that others could know the freedoms that God had granted us. They followed the example of Jesus when He went to the cross. It was something that would end in their death, yet they faced it with dignity and pride. They did not run from their responsibility.

They faced the enemy with honor. They did not shy away from the task at hand because it would mean their death. They were living out the words of Jesus.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

They gave their lives in much the same way that Jesus gave His. They knew that without their sacrifice, countless lives would be lost.

Memorial Day has just passed. It is a day that we are supposed to remember the sacrifices. It is a day to say thank you. It is a day to ask ourselves if we are capable of stepping up and defending what we hold to be true. There may come a day when we will be called upon to proclaim our faith and suffer the consequences. It is my prayer that we may all love God more than we love our own lives.

Honor and praise to God and to those who answer His call!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Why do people still try to find another way?

April 26, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
(John 14:6 (NIV))

It couldn’t be said any clearer. There is only one way to the Father, only one way to heaven, and His name is Jesus!

Muhammad can’t save you. Confucius can’t save you. Buddha can’t save you. Mary can’t save you. Wealth can’t save you. Power can’t save you. Good works can’t save you, and you surely can’t save yourself.

The problem is that people don’t want to believe this or they think it is too simple. They think that something more must be done and they that must do it. In other words, they feel that they must earn salvation. That is where the other ways that people come up with all fail. Everything is based on works and salvation is a gift only given by God through Jesus.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV))

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
(Acts 4:12 (NIV))

By definition, a gift is something that is voluntarily transferred from one person to another without any payment or compensation. It is a one way transaction where the recipient receives what the gift giver is giving. Nothing is owed in return. Does this sound like we have to work for it? Does this sound like we have to earn what we have been freely given?

This gift is given out of love!

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))

I want to present a scenario if I may. Imagine that an invitation was sent out to everyone inviting them to attend a party in a glorious mansion. The invitation was sent out through the son of the owner, and the only stipulation was that the people invited had to accept the invitation from the son. The son would be checking the list at the door to see if he had recorded your name in the registry of attendees as having accepted his invitation. Nothing could be simpler, yet, there will still be those who try to crash the party. There will still be those who try to break in through a back door. Sadly, they will be rejected even though all that they had to do was accept the invitation from the son and they would have been able to gain entry.

Trying to get to the Father in any other way but Jesus is like trying to crash a party. You will not be able to gain entrance.

Why do people still try to find another way?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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And His name is Jesus!

December 13, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

What do you think of when you think of a child being born?

What do you think of when a son comes into a family?

There was a time in history, and it is still this way in many cultures, where a child, especially a son, meant a new beginning. It meant an inheritance. It meant that authority would soon be passed from the father to the son. It was a right of passage and a transition from the old to the new. The son was to be groomed to assume all authority at an appointed time.

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

He came as a child, but He was not like any other child. He was God with us. He grew into a man and taught the truth about God’s Law. Law comes from the authority of the government and His authority was final. He did away with the man-made rituals and interpretations that had corrupted God’s Law. He taught that it was more important to fulfill the intent of the Law and not the letter of the Law.

He turned the religious authority upside down. He turned the world upside down.

Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
(Matthew 20:26-28 (NIV))

Does it go against your limited human understanding to comprehend, to accept the fact that God stepped out of heaven into the world that He created to save the world that He created? The God of all creation did not come into the world to be served, to be worshipped, but to serve by showing us how He intended for us to live! He stepped down from His eternal throne surrounded by angels into a manger in a stable! If that doesn’t blow your mind, then nothing will. He loves us that much!

We all love when a child comes into a family. How much more should we love that the child has come to redeem us to Himself?

And His name is Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you resting in the confidence of these promises?

September 14, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
(John 10:28 (NIV))

This passage comes near the end of a discourse where Jesus identifies Himself as the good shepherd. To paraphrase, He describes the difference between a hired hand who will abandon the sheep at the first sign of trouble and the good shepherd who knows and loves his sheep. The good shepherd will lay down his life for his sheep. That is exactly what Jesus did for us on the cross. He willingly laid down His life so that we could have life! In fact, by professing a faith in Jesus and His authority as the good shepherd, we have a far greater reward than we could have ever hoped for. He has given us a hope far great than anything that we could have ever hoped for.

My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
(John 10:29 (NIV))

We have the assurance that we are in God’s hands and no one is greater than God. No one can steal us away from the love of the Father. No one can rip us out of the Father’s arms and no one can do anything to lessen His love for us.

No matter what the enemy may send your way, you are in the hands of God. You have nothing to fear.

No matter what the world may do to you tomorrow, you are in the hands of God. You shall not perish.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus. Do not look at the world. It has nothing to offer of eternal worth.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
   In the light of His glory and grace.

In this world where events get stranger and stranger all of the time, we must turn our eyes upon Jesus. We must confidently hold fast to the promises of Jesus as the good shepherd. We must confidently hold fast to the promises of eternal life, for there is no other name by which we may be saved.

Are you resting in the confidence of these promises?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you gotten lost on a detour?

December 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

According to the world, there are many different ways to get to heaven.

What do you believe? What do you know to be the truth? Do you believe that they are the same thing?

Each religion in the world professes that they have the only path to get to god. You will notice that I chose to use a little “g,” for the gods that they claim to be able to reach are not the God of the universe. Each religion sets out a path that you must follow to achieve a higher level. Everything that they claim gets you closer to their god is something that you must do, but our God, the God of the universe did something to reach us!

He sent His Word! He sent His only begotten Son.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:1-5 (NIV))

Jesus came to shine the light!

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

Jesus came as one of us, a living man of flesh. We can never be good enough. We can never earn our way to God. Because of this, God came to us! Jesus was sent by God, as God made man, to bring us back to Himself.

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. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

The world tells us that we have to get better in order to see God. God tells us that He is better than the world. He has reached out to us to share His goodness, righteousness, mercy and grace. Personally, I know that I am not capable of anything on my own. I was drowning in a sea of sin. God reached out and rescued me. I didn’t have to rescue myself. Grace was and forever will be a gift. All that you have to do is accept it. If you are required to do something of your own strength, then you are on the wrong path.

Have you gotten lost on a detour?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you expect to experience?

October 22, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“When you see `the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong–let the reader understand–then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now–and never to be equaled again. If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!’ or, `Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect–if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
(Mark 13:14-23 (NIV))

The Disciples expected Jesus to return in Glory during their lifetimes. Each generation since then has expected it in their lifetime.

The words that Jesus spoke of do not paint a pretty picture of His return for those who do not put their faith in Him. Yet, the Rapture is also expected for those who today put their faith in Him. Even so, man cannot understand these things at this point in time. Jesus will return, yet even He did not know when that would be.

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
(Mark 13:32 (NIV))

All we can be certain of is that He will return. First, He will return for His true Church and then He will return in Glory to deal with the rest of the world who have rejected Him.

Nothing speaks of God’s Love and His Wrath more than the return of Jesus. When He returns, will you experience God’s Love or God’s Wrath?

What do you expect to experience?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Does what you ask glorify the Father?

October 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
(James 14:13-14 (NIV))

I don’t know just how many times that I have read or heard this passage, but tonight, I saw something that I understood in a new light. As believers, as Christians, we have taken this passage and condensed it to something that only represents the half truth that whatever we ask in the name of Jesus will be done for us. Read the passage again and stop to think about the things that you ask in the name of Jesus. Looking back on your faith walk, do your answers make you feel shameful for the things that you have asked for? What are some of the things that you remember asking? Did you receive an answer that matched your prayer request?

Human nature is selfish and as a result, even people who profess a faith in Jesus still possess this characteristic. Most people ask for things that benefit themselves either directly or indirectly. Even praying for healing of a loved one can be considered selfish if the reason that you pray is because you will miss them. It is a matter of motives. Do the things that you ask bring glory to yourself or to the Father? Do they stroke your ego or do they truly glorify God? Do they fuel a lust for fame and fortune or do they seek to follow God’s own heart?

You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
(James 4:2-3 (NIV))

Do your pleasures glorify God? Do your wrong motives guide you to seek after God’s heart? Each of us ask so much of God and from God, but why do we ask? What are our motives?

Does what you ask glorify the Father?

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