Is Jesus your strong tower?

June 25, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.
(Proverbs 18:10 (NKJV))

When this was written, it was long before Jesus had come upon the earth. It was long before humanity experienced the hope of salvation where we, as believers, have been able to firmly place our faith. Still, when this was written, it was known that the Lord was a safe place of refuge for those who truly love and trust Him.

Do you truly love and trust the Lord?

Are you concerned about all that is happening in the world? Are you panicking because of the unrest that is being reported on a constant basis? Or, do you look at all that is going on and faithfully proclaim that the Lord has it all under control?

“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))

I realize that it is difficult to not see the things of this world, but when we focus on Jesus, the things of this world grow strangely dim! We have to decide where we will run to and on what we will focus. It is a matter of priorities. Can we stand firm and, like Joshua, proclaim that we will serve the Lord?

It is a choice that we must make.

Is Jesus your strong tower?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we thoroughly equipped to be God’s servants?

June 23, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

Most believers are familiar with this passage, but most read it as I have presented it here. We have a tendency to take it as a stand-alone passage and forget the context that it was originally written. It is true that as a stand-alone passage, it does speak truth, for anything from God’s Word is God-breathed and useful in all righteousness, but there is more to this passage than this. These words about all scripture close 2 Timothy 3 after it is opened with these words about the last days.

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))

We, as the Body of Christ, have taken these two passages and have made them unrelated. We look at the warning about the last days but fail to realize that the closing words from 2 Timothy 3 are instructions for us when we see the things of the last days unfolding right before our eyes. The words written by Paul to Timothy are instructions to continue in the faith. We are to stand firm in the face of adversity. We are to stand firm when we see people are becoming lovers of themselves. We are to stand firm in our faith when we see the world turning into lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. We are to stand firm by firmly rooting ourselves in the scriptures, and not just our favorite passages.

In order to recognize the truth, we must be firmly rooted in God’s truth. There are gems of godly wisdom and truth in every passage. Some truths are only recognizable when you understand the complete truth, for God’s Word is not just a collection of individual, unrelated nuggets. God’s Word is life!

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1 (NIV))

From the first words in Genesis 1 to the last words in Revelation 22, there is an unfolding of God’s truth and in order to understand it, we must read and study it all.

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.
(Revelation 22:20-21 (NIV))

It is said that all of scripture after the fall from grace details God’s plan to bring salvation and to restore His creation. How well do you know the story? How well do you know what the outcomes are for those involved in this story?

Are we thoroughly equipped to be God’s servants?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t fall for ungodly deception!

June 12, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you.
(Mark 13:5 (NIV))

Jesus knew that strange times would come and that people would potentially be deceived by what would be happening. He told His disciples point blank to be on their guard so that they, and we, would not be deceived when situations arise. We must stand firm in our faith and be firmly rooted in God’s Word so that we can recognize false teachings when they are presented to us. It is my prayer that we will be so firmly grounded in God’s Word that we will instantly know the enemy’s attempts to deceive us when we see them. You have to realize that the enemy knows God’s Word and can twist it in ways that are designed to confuse those who are not totally immersed in God’s truth. Consider that the serpent tricked Adam and Eve by twisting the truth in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve walked with God. They knew Him in a way that we can’t possibly know God today. Still, they fell for the deception that the serpent used, and humanity has been paying the price ever since that day!

The enemy uses things out of context, or just a partial quote of scripture. He will twist just enough of God’s Word so that it still sounds right, but with the subtle change, it is now a lie. Consider what happens if he leaves out the last instructions from Jesus to the woman caught in adultery.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:9-11 (NIV))

If you twist this passage by removing “Go now and leave your life of sin,” it takes on a whole new meaning. It takes on a meaning completely opposite of what Jesus truly said and meant. Without those eight words, it sounds as if Jesus is telling the woman that whatever she does is okay, when what He is really saying is that she must repent and change her ways. The whole passage, when twisted like this, is now able to be a lie from the mouth of the enemy.

We must not take things at face value. We must know God’s Word. We must search God’s Word for verification and not for our sinful gratification. We must be Bereans!

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
(Acts 17:11 (NIV))

When someone is not educated in certain aspects of life, it is easy for them to be deceived in those areas. With everything that is going on in the world, be very careful with respect to what you embrace as truth. When you are firmly grounded in God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will be in communication with your spirit. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you through the subtle lies of the enemy.

Don’t fall for ungodly deception!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you ready to be hated?

February 28, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
(Matthew 10:22 (NIV))

Following Jesus apparently has its drawbacks! The world looks at us with disdain. The enemy looks at us and sees our former sinful selves. We will be shunned and ridiculed by the world. We will be hated, despised, rejected and accused of being ignorant fools. We will be laughed at, mocked and possibly so much more, yet, we who have professed a faith in Jesus are ready to stand firm in our faith. We pray that we are prepared to face the battles that will come our way.

We must be prepared!

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(Ephesians 6:10-17 (NIV))

I know that this sound like an impossible task, but we must remember who is for us if we profess a faith in Jesus.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

With these scriptural truths, I pray that we are fully prepared for what the world, for what the enemy may send our way. They can hate us all they want as long as we have a God who loves us for proclaiming that Jesus is Lord!

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

We are given a choice. We can love the world and be despised by God or we can be hated by the world and loved by God?

Are you ready to be hated?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How is your faith?

February 24, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
(John 14:12-14 (NIV))

Did these words hit you in the same way that they hit me?

Think about the concept that Jesus left us.

Those who have faith in Jesus will do what He did.

We will even do greater things than He did!

I don’t know about you, but I know myself all too well. I know what I have done. I know what I am capable of doing on my own, both good and bad. I know that I have good intentions, but the world always tries to slow me down or stop me. How can I do greater things than Jesus? How can I even do what Jesus did?

Do you find yourself thinking the same type of thoughts?

Faith is a funny thing. Without it, we have a tendency to say that we cannot achieve what we are called to do. When we take possession of a brand new faith, we think that we are able to do anything for God. As we “mature” in our faith, we seem to allow the world to creep back in and hold us back. Is this really a mature faith?

Take a look at the disciples. Take a look at John. Take a look at Paul. As each of these people matured in their faith, they grew bolder. They did not allow the world to hold them back. They went forward into the very heart of the battle for salvation. They did not back down. They did not slow down. They did not stop spreading the Gospel because it was not “politically correct.”

I honestly think that if we, the body of Christ, stood firm in our faith the way that the early church stood, then we could begin to say that with the power of the Holy Spirit within us, we are approaching the vision that Jesus had of those who have faith in Him. We could and should be doing what Jesus did.

And, since Jesus said it, I will stand firm on the words and say that we could and should be doing greater things than He did.

It is a matter of faith. It is a matter of a strong faith and not a sedate, “mature” faith.

How is your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stand firm in His promises!

December 27, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

Do you believe that you can do what Jesus did?

I know that I have a difficult time believing that a sinner like me could do the same things that the Son of God was capable of doing when He walked upon this earth.

Even though I find it difficult to believe, I must accept it as the truth, for I believe that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. God, by His very nature cannot sin by stating something that is not true.

Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
(John 5:19 (NIV))

If Jesus cannot tell a lie, then by the very words that He spoke, we must believe that they are true. Each of us has the capability of doing what Jesus did if we simply have faith in Him.

Faith.

That is the key.

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. “
(Matthew 17:20 (NIV))

If we have faith, we will do what Jesus did. It only takes a little faith, because faith, like the little mustard seed, will grow into something majestic in stature if we only allow it to take root.

Picture yourself doing the things that Jesus did.

Do you have the faith to stand firm in that promise?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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It is time to stand firm in your faith!

August 9, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
(Luke 12:8-10 (NIV))

We have come to a point in history where it is not politically correct to acknowledge Jesus as who He really is.

It is deemed socially ok to pray to just about anyone or anything that you may want to pray to, yet, mention the name of Jesus and you soon face multiple possible scenarios depending on where you were when you claimed the name of Jesus. It is all right for school children to study homosexuality in school, but they cannot mention Jesus. They can publicly proclaim that they worship Satan, yet they cannot even mention the name of Jesus. It is considered correct to proclaim that it is ok to do what you want to do, but, if you mention the Ten Commandments you are labeled a bigot and a narrow minded person.

To be honest with you, I hate the term “politically correct.” This implies that people have the power to decide what is right and wrong. What happens when the people in power change? Are we supposed to learn a whole new set of “truths” and learn what names we can publicly proclaim? Human political leaders as well as human standards change. We cannot be part of the crowd that follows human frailty. We must focus our eyes upon Jesus, for only His name can save us. We cannot call upon the name of political correctness to save us from eternal separation from God. Only Jesus can offer us this salvation.

Take a serious look at your actions. Have you ever deliberately changed your “personality” because you were afraid to be the believer you need to be? What do you think that Jesus will do when you stand before Him if you have denied Him before men? It is not a pretty image.

Don’t let men sway you from your true beliefs. There will be ridicule and persecution for these beliefs, but rest assured that the rewards will be far greater than anything this world can offer.

It is time to stand firm in your faith!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Stand firm in God’s promises!

July 26, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 (NIV))

I have always been told that I needed faith. During the times that I was very down because of the lack of work, I was told that. Even during the times when things appeared to be going well, I was told that. Now, I have gotten to the point where most of the time I know that things will be okay because God is in control. Sometimes I try to control things myself, and that is when I start to worry. These times of worry are simply little “hiccups” in the daily routine and they will be smoothed over according to God’s plan. All we have to do is stand firm in His promises.

Our lives are not meant to be easy. When we face something out of the ordinary, your first reaction is to think of ourselves and what it will mean to our way of life. These times build character. They should have the exact opposite effect. We should rejoice in the knowledge that Jesus is with us through these times. We need to realize that we are being watched in our times of trouble to see if we really do live out our faith.

Everyone goes through things in their lives. We, as believers, are no different. Some have it easier, or so it seems. Some have it worse, or at least they want you to think that. The ones who seem to have it easier may simply be better at hiding the issues and the ones who have it worse may be better at trying to play off of other people’s pity.

Maybe some of the people who appear to have it easier have truly learned to rely on God and are firmly rooted in the knowledge that we gain from Romans 8:28.

We WILL have a better situation if we truly love God.

Stand firm in God’s promises!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you willing to give up to be reconciled?

June 26, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation– if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
(Colossians 1:21-23 (NIV))

It had to be a powerful gospel in Paul’s life. He started off persecuting the church. Yet, something happened in his life that made him give up all that he had earned for himself in the physical world.

Who in their right mind would give up worldly position and wealth for something the world considered of no importance?

Paul saw the power of the Gospel firsthand and was empowered by the Holy Spirit to spread that Gospel. He knew that Jesus is the Messiah and that He is the only way to enter heaven. Paul gave up worldly position for something that he knew was of far greater value than anything the world had to offer.

What are you willing to give up to be reconciled?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are we good ambassadors?

January 9, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
(2 Corinthians 5:20 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to think about this passage from the perspective of the definition of the word ambassador?

The word ambassador means a diplomatic agent of the highest rank, an authorized representative or messenger.

Does this sound anything like the role that you have been filling while you live your life? Does this sound anything like the witness that you have had for Jesus on a daily basis?

A diplomatic agent of the highest rank stands firm and resolute for the interests of those who sent him. They constantly present the case of the one whom they represent. They are sent with authority and under authority. What they say and do is supposed to be the very words and desires of those who gave them that authority. They do not falter or fail in delivering the message that they were sent to convey!

Sadly, if you are anything like me, I have failed miserably at my assigned tasks. I can imagine a performance evaluation of my lackluster representation of Jesus. Do I do all that I should be doing to point people to the grace and mercy that is freely given through the atoning blood of Jesus? Do I do all that I should to tell people that they can be forgiven of their sins? Do I step outside of my comfort zone and share the good news?

We have been sent out as ambassadors.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
(Mark 16:15 (NIV))

Are we good ambassadors?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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