Are you childlike in your faith?

January 17, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
(Matthew 18:2-3 (NIV))

I pray that you have little children in your life!

There is something special about the innocence of a little child. Their smile is infectious. The sparkle in their eyes is so joyous. Their laugh is genuine. Their love is unconditional. Their trust has not been broken by the world, and their faith is still strong! They haven’t been tricked by the world or by the enemy which means that they have not grown callous and hard hearted. They have not been beaten down by the weight of sin.

No wonder Jesus said that we need to become like little children.

Think back on your childhood. Hopefully your childhood was wonderful. You probably didn’t have a care in the world. You trusted that all of your needs would be met and you spent your time being happy and filled with joy. You knew that you were loved and you knew just how to ask for the things that you needed, and probably the things that you wanted as well. You possessed a faith in the family and friends who were your whole world. They sheltered you from the evils of the world that you didn’t even know about. We should be just like this in our faith in the Lord. Can we say that we are filled with joy? Can we say that we love unconditionally? Can we say that we trust? Can we say that we are sheltered? It is my prayer to be childlike in my faith.

Are you childlike in your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you a new creation?

January 2, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

Anyone who has accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior has a tremendous reason to celebrate!

We like to celebrate the passage of time by having a major event at the transition from the last day of one year to the first day of a new year. In all honesty, this celebration is nothing more than a time to celebrate the fact that we made it through another year. For this simple fact, the whole world celebrates and then within just a few hours, we are back to the very same things as before the celebration.

What if we could celebrate something that would leave us completely different? What if we could celebrate receiving a gift so magnificent that it changes our eternal destiny? What if we could discard our sinful nature and replace it with the very nature of God through the gift of His Son, Jesus?

Each one of us was physically born into a sinful world and we inherited a sinful nature. That nature has condemned us. That nature has destined us for eternal separation from God. Through the gift that God gave us in Jesus, we can replace that condemnation and that destiny with a grace filled rebirth. We can be made new! We can repent and take hold of the promises of God. We can be made better than new! We can be made new in the image of Christ!

Are you a new creation?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you truly understand the fullness of God’s love?

December 13, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
(Ephesians 3:17b-19 (NIV))

How many times do we need to be told about the depth and breadth of God’s love for us?

Sometimes I feel that we could be told every second of our lives and we would still find times that we forget what is so prevalent in God’s message to us. Face the truth of our sinful existence. There have undoubtedly been times within the last twenty four hours that God’s love for you was forgotten.

Do you think that God is trying to tell us something?

Paul wrote about how wide and long and high and deep, and in the very next thought he tells us that God’s love surpasses knowledge. In other words, we cannot comprehend it because it is so vast. Perhaps that is why we constantly need to be reminded about the magnitude of God’s love for us. It is simply beyond human capacity to understand.

God’s love passes our ability to understand. God’s peace is also beyond our understanding.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

Even with all of the sinful things in our lives, God loves us. All we have to do is accept it. Once we accept it, embrace it and embrace God’s peace so that you may be filled to the measure of all fullness of God.

Do you truly understand the fullness of God’s love?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that your life is recognized for?

November 5, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.
(Matthew 12:33 (NIV))

What is your favorite fruit? Is it apples? Perhaps it is pears. Some people love figs, while others love oranges. If you had a tree that gave you your favorite fruit, how would you care for that tree? If the tree began to rot, would the fruit still be as good?

Now, think of your life. What type of fruit does it produce? Each life produces something.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

The fruits of the Spirit also provide sweet nourishment. Someone who is loving and filled with joy will make the lives of others transform from the spiritual nourishment that they share. You life is the tree that produces that fruit.

If a tree is diseased, it cannot send the required nourishment and other resources to produce the fruit. The fruit will be small and will be lacking much when compared to fruit produced by a healthy tree. Consequently, how can your life produce healthy fruit if your life is diseased by sin? How can you produce enough love to share if you are callous and cold hearted? How can you produce joy if you are miserable and mean. Just as a tree can be diseased, a life can be diseased. Just as that disease will harm the fruit a tree produces, your disease that you carry within your life will also harm the fruit that you produce.

What makes us different from an actual tree is that we can make a decision to turn to the healing. We can turn to Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. He will give us the grace and mercy that will allow our lives to be healed. He will restore that which the sin has destroyed. He will give us the desire to produce good fruit.

What is your favorite fruit? Is it love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness or self-control?

What is it that your life is recognized for?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Don’t follow your heart. Follow Jesus!

August 6, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
(Proverbs 19:21 (NIV))

How many times have you been given advice to follow your heart? How many times have you given this advice? Is this really sound advice when you stop to consider how many times the Bible refers to the human heart as wicked and deceitful? Ever since the fall from grace, our hearts have been filled with selfish and sinful desires.

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.
(Genesis 6:5 (NIV))

The heart is deceitful above all things
     and beyond cure.
     Who can understand it?
(Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV))

If you don’t think this is true, simply look at your own life. Are there things that you have done, or you think about doing, that would shock your family and your friends if they only knew what was in your heart? Do you look around at those whom you know and find yourself thinking that if they only knew the true you they wouldn’t want to be near you?

Human nature is so full of secrets and shortcomings that it is a wonder how any of us truly have any family or friends! We are so self-centered that even on our best days we still fail miserably at doing anything close to what the Lord calls us to do. We fail because we listen to our selfish and sinful hearts when we should be listening to the Lord.

Is your heart pure? What plans do you hide in your heart? What sinful desires do you hide in your heart? Life is a series of choices that we all must make. Every single day we are faced with a choice of who to follow. Do we follow our own sinful hearts or do we strive to follow Jesus?

It is easy to say this, but very difficult to walk it through. We must make an effort to follow Jesus and repent when we stray so that the Lord’s purpose prevails.

In other words, don’t follow your heart. Follow Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Has your faith stayed strong?

June 6, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:36-47 (NIV))

The early church did not have the ability to look back into history and see what Jesus had done. They didn’t need it! Many of the people who came to be believers in this time had seen Jesus perform the miracles and had heard Him teach. They had seen Him crucified and had seen Him resurrected. Those who did not see all these things happen, knew of them. They also had the eye-witness accounts of the disciples who had been with Jesus during all of this. No matter how they knew of Jesus, they knew that He is Lord and Savior of all Creation. They fervently praised God and prayed for what they knew comes from these actions.

Have the centuries dulled our intensity? Have they caused us to be less than our brothers and sisters from the early church? We have more evidence today that all of these things happened. Historical records besides the New Testament verify many of the accounts of Jesus’ life. Have we grown complacent in our faith? Take a serious look at your life and priorities. Can you say that you devote yourself to Jesus’ teachings and fellowship with other believers?

Has your faith stayed strong?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Sounds like a reason to worship!

April 25, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
(Psalms 47:1 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but it sounds like the author of this passage knew how to praise and worship! It sounds like he also knew how to lead others in worship as well. If someone born long before our salvation came to earth can praise God in this manner, should we not do the same, if not more?

Think about that for a moment. This was written when all that humanity had was a promise of salvation. Now we have seen the promise fulfilled from the virgin birth, the miracles, and to the crucifixion, resurrection and the ascension. We have the great and valuable perspective of looking at all of this after it happened. We claim that we firmly believe that Jesus is the Son of Man and the only begotten Son of God the Father, yet we fail to praise and worship in a manner that conveys that we are the recipients of the greatest gift ever to have been given. All too often we sit for an hour a week among other people who simply sit as well. Where is the praise for what we have been given? Where is the worship of the one who gave it?

Are you thankful for what has been freely given? Are you filled with joy because you have accepted this priceless gift?

I realize that God has created each of us to be unique, but I honestly don’t think that God created any of us to not praise Him and to not worship Him? If we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we should be leaping with joy for we no longer have to face eternity away from God.

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

Sounds like a reason to worship!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are these words fixed in your heart and mind?

March 21, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
(Deuteronomy 11:18 (NIV))

Jesus has risen and we should be rejoicing with all of our being. We should be praising God for His greatness. We should be lifting up Jesus for His sacrifice. We should be embracing the Holy Spirit so that He can guide us in all that we do. We should be studying God’s Word so that we may be able to discern what is righteous and what is not. Accepting God’s grace and mercy is only the beginning. We must study so that we may know what God is calling us to do.

Do you remember when you first took an avid interest in your favorite hobby? Chances are you immersed yourself into anything and everything that you could find about your interest. For some of you, it may be a sport such as golf. For others, it may be reading. For others, it may be kayaking. No matter what you interest is, you spent a considerable amount of time learning as much as you could for it became an integral part of who you are. It filled an emptiness. It gave you excitement. It gave you peace.

Now comes the painful moment of truth.

When you accepted Jesus as your Savior, did you have the same hunger for knowledge about Him and God’s Word as you did for your favorite hobby? Did you hunger for His words? Did you long to learn as much as you could about the saving grace that you accepted as your own? Did you allow it to become an integral part of you? Did you allow it to fill the biggest emptiness in your life? Did it give you excitement? Did it give you peace?

Accepting Jesus as your savior is more than simply lip service. He also wants to be Lord of your life. This is not a subservient or demeaning attitude to take. It shows a desire to fully embrace God’s grace and mercy.

Are these words fixed in your heart and mind?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you filled?

March 4, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
(Matthew 5:6 (NIV))

How many times have you experienced an emptiness inside of you that needed attention? Most of the time we associate this feeling with a physical hunger or a deep emotional scar.

You don’t hear of people experiencing a hunger for righteousness. Well, at least those who do experience this do not proclaim it in the same circles as those with the other hungers. This hunger is one of an eagerness to know God and His Will in all things. Many people who experience this hunger and thirst are not looking in the same places that others experiencing a hunger look. They look inward to find the place within them that God is quietly calling them to turn over to Him. They do not look outward in their search. There may be some telltale outward signs, such as changed habits, gentler disposition, etc., but this hunger is not one that longs for anything of this world.

We have turned this world over to Satan, and all dominion is his. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness reject the ways of the world and long for things that are righteous in the eyes of God. As a result, those who hunger for righteousness reflect righteousness in all that they do, for they are filled with the Holy Spirit.

Are you filled?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you a member of God’s family?

January 14, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
(John 3:3 (NIV))

I was recently given a very interesting glimpse of God’s love for us through the birth of my granddaughter! Let me explain, and for those of you who have recently experienced the birth of a child, you probably already understand.

Is there anything that makes the human heart happier than the birth of a child? It brings joy to the mother and father and all who are related to them. People gather all around to celebrate the birth of the precious new life! They bestow gifts on the parents and on the child. They make a commitment to always be there for the child as they grow and mature. They instantly love with more love than they could possibly imagine.

Think about that in terms of being a child of God’s.

When we are born again, we are born of the Spirit. We accept the grace and mercy freely given to become a son or a daughter of God. In true fashion, we literally are born again. We are birthed into the family of God! Don’t you think that the Lord is filled with joy when someone truly decides to call Him Father? The human joy that we experience when we hold a newborn member of our family is overwhelming. How much greater is the joy that God and all of heaven feel when we are born into God’s family?

There is no greater joy in this world than the birth of a child. There is no greater joy that God can experience than the rebirth of one of His beloved children.

Have you given God great joy? Are you a member of God’s family?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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