What is it that you do?

August 3, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

Are you content to hear a twenty minute sermon once a week and then profess to know how God desires for you to live?

If you want to learn how to be a better musician, you practice your instrument often. If you want to be a better tennis player, you practice and play often. If you want to run a marathon, you train and you run often. If you want to be good at your job, you go to school to learn the details about your chosen profession. Why do we think that we can do any different when it comes to living our lives according to God’s Word? Why do we think that we’ve got this “Christianity thing” down pat when we can’t even go one minute without failing miserably at putting our faith into action?

James tells us to do what the Word says, but how many of us actually spend enough time alone in God’s Word to know what it says? How many of us truly understand the concept of taking up our cross daily and following Him daily?

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
(Luke 9:23 (NIV))

If we don’t do what His Word says, if we don’t take up our cross daily, if we don’t follow Him daily, are we doing anything more than giving lip service to something that we truly don’t understand? Are we guilty of simply being a poser?

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

I long to hear completely different words when I stand before Jesus!

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Matthew 25:21 (NIV))

We know that only by professing a faith in Jesus will we be saved. Works will not do it. Associating with someone who professes a faith will not do it. Only by professing a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior will bring you the gift of salvation, but we are called to put our faith into action. We are called to live according to God’s Word. We are called to emulate Jesus in all that we do. We are called to walk with Jesus and imitate what we see in Him. If we profess a faith in Jesus, then our heart should desire to do what He calls us to do, but we must do it only as He directs. It is so easy to see things that we think we should be doing and go off and do them without Jesus in our lives. If you consider Jesus in context to the passage from James, it bring clarity. Jesus was God with us, yet, He didn’t do what He wanted to do. He only did what God’s Word instructed.

Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, 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))

What is it that you do?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you keep in step with the Spirit?

June 16, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.
(3 John 1:11 (NIV))

What do you desire to do?

Do your thoughts turn toward sinful things such as greed and lust, or do you reflect upon the Word of God? Do your actions follow your thoughts?

It is human nature that we tend to do what is in our hearts. What is in our hearts is what we think on day and night. Our actions reflect what is truly inside. We may be able to put up a facade on many occasions. Still, when we are put to the test, our true desires and thoughts come out in our actions.

Preach always. When necessary, use words.
(St. Francis of Assisi)

St. Francis of Assisi knew that people watch us and judge our faith in Jesus on how we act. Like it or not, each one of us who profess a faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior are under a microscope. Nonbelievers are watching us to see how we will react. They want to see if what we profess is real. If we have truly allowed Jesus in to our hearts, then our actions should reflect the Gospel and the fruit of the Spirit.

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. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:22-25 (NIV))

Do you keep in step with the Spirit?

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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Are you truly willing to go where He leads?

April 13, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
(Luke 9:23 (NIV))

As we approach the day that we acknowledge as the day of the crucifixion of Jesus, we need to stop and reflect not only on what Jesus did for us, but also on what He has called us to do.

We are to take up our cross daily! We are to follow Him!

Keep in mind that Jesus was speaking to His disciples before the crucifixion and all that we have recorded is that He told His disciples that He would be killed. We have no record of Him saying that He would be crucified on a cross. Can you imagine just what the disciples thought when He told them to take up their cross daily and follow Him? Were they able to put this together in their minds with what would happen, or did they have an epiphany the day of the crucifixion? When did they truly realize that Jesus was calling them to a life of sacrifice in which their lives were no longer their first priority? Did they realize that there lives were no longer theirs? They had a purpose far greater than any of them could have ever conceived of for their lives.

What about you?

When did you realize that Jesus is calling you to change, to repent, and to follow Him no matter where He leads? When did you realize that as a follower of Jesus, your life would become so much more than simply existing for a few short years? When did you realize that Jesus had given you a purpose greater than yourself? When did you realize that Jesus is your purpose?

Are you truly following Jesus?

Are you truly willing to go where He leads?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How good are you at denying yourself?

April 4, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
(Luke 9:23 (NIV))

Everything has a cost!

It all comes down to what you are willing to do, what you are willing to pay in order to possess what you desire.

We think of this when we save for a down-payment on a house or a car. We think of this when we schedule a once in a lifetime trip. We think of this when we pursue a career, but have you truly thought of this concept as relevant when applied to following Jesus?

We should!

All of the things that we think of sacrificing for in this world are fleeting. Moth and rust will eventually take anything that we achieve and make it worthless, yet we spend so much time and effort on these things while we ignore the things that have eternal value. We think that following Jesus is easy. We think that following Jesus is something we do when all other things are completed. In other words, Jesus is not our priority. We should be willing to do as Jesus asked the rich young man.

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
(Matthew 19:21 (NIV))

Sadly, too many of us respond in just the same way that the rich young man responded.

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
(Matthew 19:22 (NIV))

We are not willing to give up our possessions and our priorities. We still focus on me, myself, and I. With that in mind, I want to ask you one simple question.

How good are you at denying yourself?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do we listen to His voice?

December 16, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
(John 10:1-3 (NIV))

Whom do you follow?

Whom do you trust?

All throughout history humanity has been deceived by one lie after another. Why do we look for something and expect it to be as promised when we can’t verify the credibility of the source? There is only one source that is credible. There is only one source that knows us by name. There is only one source that enters through the gate.

Why must people make it so difficult?

Why do people take a look at what Jesus teaches and tell themselves that it cannot be that simple? Why do they think that it will work for everyone else except them? Why do they listen to those who have come into their lives through something other than the “gate?” Why do we, as humanity, prefer to listen to the thief and the robber? Is this the same desire or gullibility that has allowed con men and the proverbial snake oil salesmen?

What is it about human nature that makes us want to look for an alternative when we are told that there is only one way? Why do we want to test the warning signs that boldly proclaim danger, yet ignore the wisdom and direction that leads to life?

With Christmas rapidly approaching, why do so many ignore the gift that God gave to His creation? Why do we look for alternatives to what God has given?

Perhaps it is due to the old saying, “It is too good to be true.”

Think about that. Our society has been telling us for a while that we must beware of things that are too good to be true, because they are not true. I honestly believe that our society has become jaded by this and now, too many apply this to faith in Jesus.

Jesus is not too good to be true! He is the truth.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 (NIV))

Jesus is the shepherd. He enters through the gate. He knows our names. He calls us out.

Do we listen to His voice?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The struggle is all too real!

November 2, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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.
(Ephesians 6:12 (NIV))

How do you see the world?

Perhaps I should ask it in this way. What is your world view?

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then your world view should reflect that in all that you do. It should not be limited or confined to the hour or so that you spend in church on Sunday. It should not be something that you decide to leave at home when you go to work. It is not something that you can turn off and on to suit you. It is not something that you hide when the circumstances are not favorable. It is a choice that you must make every single minute of every single day of your life!

If you choose to leave your faith behind because of your environment, how do you think that you will be rewarded by Jesus? I venture to say that you will not be rewarded, for rewards are for those who are faithful.

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:22-23 (NIV))

It is time to take stock of your life. It is time to take stock of your actions and your choices. If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior but repeatedly choose to do something that is contrary to what Jesus desires, are you truly walking in His will? Emotions have nothing to do with it. Personal desires and likes have nothing to do with it. Our emotions, our desires and likes are sinful, yet far too many of us who proclaim Jesus as Lord still choose to follow our sin instead of submitting to the authority and Lordship that is only in Jesus. We submit to the powers of this dark world!

Think about that the next time you decide to watch something on television. Think about that the next time you choose to get mad at other drivers. Think about that when you make a decision to go along with anything that you know goes against what Jesus would desire for you to do. Think about that when you vote for someone who supports anything that goes against God’s Word!

We must stand firm in our faith!

The struggle is all too real!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you possess the Spirit?

October 26, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
(1 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV))

When you take a look at the world today and you see the things that are going on, it is easy to draw assumptions that the Holy Spirit is not within the people who are rioting and looting. It is easy to see that the Holy Spirit is not within the people who call good evil and evil good. It is easy to see those who truly follow Jesus as opposed to those who follow the world.

If things are this bad when the Holy Spirit and the true church are still on this earth doing all that can be done to restrain the enemy, can you imagine just how bad things will be once the Lord declares that it is time for His Holy Spirit and His church to be removed? God will soon decide that time is up and when He does, the rest of His plan will unfold. It will start with the very rapid removal of the Holy Spirit and the church and all of the restraining influence on society. There will be nothing standing in the way of the enemy and his plans. Evil will run rampant. Every sick and perverted thing that humanity has ever desired will be commonplace.

Today, a person without the Holy Spirit is a lost individual. As the Body of Christ, we must pray for those who are lost so that they can avoid the time that is coming when the whole world will be without the Holy Spirit. The whole world will mock God and everything that He calls good.

In essence, a world without the Holy Spirit is hell on earth!

Do you possess the Spirit?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you truly confessed the name of Jesus?

September 24, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
(2 Timothy 2:19 (NIV))

There is a lot said in this passage. In all honesty, if I offered up my thoughts on all of the concepts presented, it would be a very long read. The concept behind these devotionals is a quick read to get people thinking and reading more for themselves. I could go into details and tie together different scriptures to explain God’s solid foundation, standing firm, being sealed, and the Lord knowing those who are His. Today, when reading this passage, the last part tugged at my spirit. This is something that every believer struggles with during their lives, whether it be within themselves, or whether it is within someone that they know and love.

Once we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are to turn away from wickedness. We are to repent and follow Jesus in all things. That means that we are to do our best to stop sinning. Let’s face the facts. Most of us do not have any trouble with the things that we think of as the big sins. We don’t murder. We don’t take the Lord’s name in vain. Then there are what many people consider the lesser sins. We don’t steal, well at least, not the big stuff. Is that how we justify this in our minds as a lesser sin? I could go on, but we all have sins that we should turn away from.

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

Do you think that God sees the occasional sin caused by sinful human nature differently from the sins committed as a result of planned and premeditated wickedness? Perhaps I should rephrase that. All sin is reprehensible in the eyes of God. None of us are perfect. There is a difference between sinful actions that we accidentally commit simply because we are human and the sinful actions that we commit because we plan to commit them. As a believer, we are called to turn away from premeditated wickedness and sin. We are called to reject this sin and repent of this sin. If we confess that Jesus is Lord and still make plans to sin, then He isn’t our Lord. If we walk away from the premeditated wickedness and sin, and strive to follow Jesus as our Lord, we will falter along the way. We are only human. When we falter, we must turn to Jesus and repent.

If you look at the story of the woman caught in adultery, we read what Jesus instructed her to do with respect to her sin.

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 8:10-11 (NIV))

Had her sin been planned? Had her sin been one of choice? It was a lifestyle that was sinful. Jesus instructed her to leave her life of sin. That is the first step. Each of us must make a conscious decision to walk away from wickedness into the arms of Jesus. Once we make that decision, that confession of faith, we have taken that first step.

Have you truly confessed the name of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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I will patiently wait as His plan unfolds!

September 11, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

How long will the enemy mock you, God?
    Will the foe revile your name forever?
(Psalms 74:10 (NIV))

Have you ever let out a spiritual groaning in agony and asked God how much longer before those who hate Him will be dealt with?

I will say that even though I am at peace with God’s plans as they unfold, I have often asked something very similar. It is human nature to want to fix a problem as quickly as possible, and the amount of evil in the world is a huge problem. Since it is beyond our abilities, we still seek a quick remedy, but God does not work on our timetable. He will deal with the evil when His perfect time has come. He will complete His plan and bring judgment when it is the right time.

It is mine to avenge; I will repay.
    In due time their foot will slip;
their day of disaster is near
    and their doom rushes upon them.
(Deuteronomy 32:35 (NIV))

Why does the church avoid this topic? Why have we allowed society to fill the minds of people with the false teachings that the Lord loves and accepts everyone just as they are? Why do we believe that we can stay in our sin and still have salvation? We are told to leave our life of sin. We are told to follow Jesus. We are told to live our lives in such a way that we turn from our sin and not embrace our sin. We are also told one more thing that most of the world ignores.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

Jesus calls us to leave our life of sin. He calls us to take up our cross. He calls us to a true relationship with Him as we grow in spiritual maturity. He calls us to learn the very heart of God! When we learn the very heart of God, our heart begins to change. When our hearts change, it creates a complex relationship with the world. We long for God’s judgment, yet, at the same time, we long for those who will be judged to repent and accept salvation.

Even though I long for His return for His church, I will patiently wait as His plan unfolds!

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