Does the enemy ask who you are?

August 12, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”
(Acts 19:15 (NIV))

Have you ever felt like the odd man out?

You know what I mean. The last person picked for something. The only one who has not chosen a side. The person who is so quiet that you don’t know what they want. The person who tries to drop names in hopes of being allowed in with the cool kids, but it backfires completely.

Think about that with an eternal, spiritual perspective. Imagine dropping the name of Jesus in a situation where the evil spirit fights back because it recognizes the fact that you don’t truly know Jesus. You are just claiming His name because you think it will provide some sort of advantage or gain in the situation.

Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.
(Acts 19:13-14 (NIV))

There is a difference between using the name of Jesus and truly knowing Jesus. There is also a difference that leads to the enemy recognizing your authority over them. They recognize the power that can only come through truly knowing the Lord.

Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
(Acts 19:16 (NIV))

Do you truly know Jesus? Can you boldly proclaim His name in the face of the enemy and know that the Lord will be with you through all that you face? All throughout history, truly knowing Jesus has had importance on an eternal level. We are getting to a point in history where a true relationship with Jesus is crucial in this physical world as well. We must be bold in our faith. We must stand firm in our convictions. We must proclaim the name of Jesus without fear and without shame. That is only possible if we truly have a personal Lord and Savior who stands with us closer than a brother. If this is true, then the enemy knows your name!

Does the enemy ask who you are?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you see the Lord as Holy Glorious?

June 10, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And they were calling to one another:
    “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
     the whole earth is full of his glory.”
(Isaiah 6:3 (NIV))

There are two basic premises outlined in this passage. Two very true details that we need to fully embrace. How we embrace them determines our whole outlook and understanding of God the Father, Jesus His Son, and the Holy Spirit.

First and foremost, the LORD is holy. I am not certain if the word “holy” is repeated three times because of a subliminal reference to the Trinity, or whether it is repeated simply as a matter of driving the concept home. It may even be both. No matter why it is repeated, we must never forget that the LORD is holy. If we treat God in any way less than holy, we have sinned. We have taken the Creator of all things and redefined Him within our comfort zone. We do not praise Him if we make Him less than He is.

Ouch!

I hate to say this, but human nature finds us doing just that. We have a tendency of not understanding just how magnificent that He is. We tend to define God and our relationship to Him by our own thought processes and our own relationships. God is holy.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
      declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

We cannot comprehend God. We must simply trust Him and accept that He is holy.

The second premise that is presented is the fact the the whole earth is full of His glory.

Everywhere that you look, you see wondrous things that God has created. Can man imagine a rainbow into existence? Can humanity divide the waters above from the waters below? Can anybody create a continent and clothe it in the vast splendor that we see?

God’s glory is manifested through His creation. Not only is He holy, but everything that He creates is glorious.

I hope that you fully caught what I just said. Everything that God creates is glorious. God created you and I. It is simple deductive reasoning that allows us to draw the conclusion that we are intended to be glorious. Even though we have fallen from grace through our sin, we are intended to be glorious. Even though we may not always follow God’s call, we are intended to be glorious.

God sent His glory into the world so that we could gain salvation and grace. Jesus, the son of God and the son of man, came into this world so that we could be washed clean and reunited with God in all of His glory.

Holy. Glory.

How do you see God in relationship to these two simple words? Do you see the Lord as Holy Glorious?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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You will never find greater riches than this!

April 24, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
(Ephesians 1:7 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of riches?

Is it the typical human nature responses such as money, big house, fancy cars and expensive toys?

Let me ask this another way.

What is it that you value the most?

Did you answer family and friends? Perhaps you thought of the gift of life itself. These are valuable to most people, yet, there is something that has far greater worth. It is of far greater worth than all of the riches of the world.

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
(Mark 8:36 (NIV))

Everything in this life is here today and gone tomorrow. With that said, how can we place value on something that does not last? How can we spend our lives striving for something that can be taken from us in the blink of an eye?

We are trapped in a world of sin and death. A world that we allowed to fall away from God. It is a world badly in need of something that is eternal, something that will not rust or decay with time. That something is God’s grace.

I know of nothing in this world that can bring eternal life, even though man has searched for just such a thing for a long time. I know of nothing in this world that can bring peace, even though we all long for it. I know of nothing in this world that can bring everlasting joy, even though there are things that bring us fleeting glimpses of joy. Nothing in this world can redeem us. Nothing in this world can provide forgiveness, and nothing in this world can give us grace.

With that said, the greatest riches of all is the very thing that can bring all of this. It is not of this world, for this world is fallen. It is from the very One who created this world. It is designed to bring each and every one of us back into the pre-sin relationship that we were supposed to have with God.

Let me ask a few more questions.

Does money make you happy? Do big houses make you happy? Do expensive toys make you happy? All of these things soon become the reason for living and then you discover that they leave you cold and empty. Only one thing can leave you joyfully filled and warm with the love of God.

Have you accepted the riches that God offers through His glorious gift of grace? Have you accepted the gift of salvation that was purchased at the cross by Jesus?

You will never find greater riches than this!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you understand real knowledge and wisdom?

October 4, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;
(Philippians 1:9-10 (NIV))

Just what is real knowledge?

Several years, I went by my wife’s office only to find that her parking lot was roped off as a crime scene. This is where the police believe that a college professor parked while he went next door and killed his wife and two other people. This professor was supposed to possess knowledge. In fact, I understand that he was well respected in his field. Unfortunately, one moment of rash and erroneous decisions have made it so that he will never be able to practice his profession again. All of that knowledge and no outlet.

Human knowledge has its limitations. It has its errors in judgment and reasoning. It is flawed and no matter how much humanity claims that it can perfect human knowledge, there will always be circumstances that push us beyond our human ability to understand, reason and to respond.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
      and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
   we all shrivel up like a leaf,
      and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:16 (NIV))

With this truth before us, there is only one true knowledge. There is only one real knowledge. God is good and that Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son.

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))

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 men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
(John 1:1-5 (NIV))

When you gain knowledge, it is said that you are enlightened. Jesus is the light. Knowing Jesus and following Jesus will not result in senseless results of rash decisions based on false knowledge. Jesus will walk with you in all that you do. He will be with you. The knowledge of the Holy Trinity will be with you. He will give you wisdom. And, yes, there is a difference.

Do you know the real knowledge that God desires for you to know? Do you understand real knowledge and wisdom?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What are you trained to be?

November 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.
(2 Corinthians 11:6 (NIV))

Every single one of us is good at something. Every single one of us has a special talent that we have nurtured because we are driven to pursue it in one manner or another. Some of us are driven to excellence in athletic endeavors. Some are driven to excel in music, while others are drawn to drama. Some are good at business, while others are more concerned with hospitality, kindness and caring.

What are you drawn to?

If you are like everyone else, you read, study or practice to get better at what you are drawn to. You become a sponge who is willing to absorb all that you can about your passion, about what drives you, about what you are drawn to. You grow in knowledge and wisdom. You grow in your training, whether it is from someone who is a mentor, or if it is through trial and error all on your own. Some people, like Paul, even have a divine calling. Even with the calling during his Damascus Road experience, Paul had to gain knowledge. He had to study. He had to wait for the Lord to lead him to the right place and time for his study and his passion to come together.

Today, we read the words that Paul recorded in his endeavors of spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles. We read his words of encouragement. We read his words of instruction. We read his words of chastisement when it was due. We know Paul as a great man of God, still, I have often wondered just what Paul was referring to when he said that he was given a thorn in his flesh.

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
(2 Corinthians 12:7b (NIV))

There has been much speculation about what this could be, but the one thing that is obvious is that Paul did not focus on this thorn in his flesh. Out of all of the writings that we have from Paul, this is the only instance that this thorn in his flesh is mentioned. He used the talent and the passion that he did have to spread the Gospel.

We all have knowledge and a passion for something. We all have that specific thing that we have been trained to be in our lives. It is time to use that training, that one passion, and let it be brought to the forefront in such a way that it leads people to Jesus!

What are you trained to be?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Which do you seek, righteousness or worldly gain?

September 28, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.
(Proverbs 16:8 (NIV))

How many of us, when first reading this passage, try to figure out if there is a happy medium where we are willing to compromise on righteousness in order to increase our gain?

I hope that if you did ask yourself if you could find a happy medium it was a short-lived question and you quickly came to the conclusion to never compromise on righteousness. If you stop to realize what compromising on righteousness entails, it means that you are willing to sin. To be righteous in the eyes of God means that you are free from sin. If you compromise on righteousness, then you are willingly opening the door to your life to allow sin back in.

Is this what you want to do?

Is this what God wants you to do?

Salvation was purchased with a very high price. It took the sacrifice, the crucifixion, of a sinless man in the form of Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, to allow our sins to be forgiven. The cost was too great. What we would lose is too great!

There is nothing in this world that is worth losing what was so highly valued that it took the death of the Son of God to purchase it for us. Still, human nature tries to figure out how to have the proverbial cake and eat it, too. We want the treasures of heaven, but we are too easily enticed by the worldly treasures.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

Which do you seek, righteousness or worldly gain?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your faith strong enough to proclaim that to die is gain?

August 18, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
(Philippians 1:21 (NIV))

Are these just words to you or are they a true reflection of your heart and your desires?

I realize that we all love our lives, for they are a precious gift, but how much do you love your life? Do you live your life for Jesus, or do you live your life for yourself? Do you strive to walk in His light in all that you do, or do you seek your own sinful road for your life? Do you long to be with Him, or do you never want to stand before Him? I realize that al of these questions pose scenarios that are extreme opposites, but we need to consider that these are the type of reactions that people have to Jesus. They run the full range of responses. For some people, their responses may change on a daily basis.

The word “gain” means to increase in amount or magnitude. For those who don’t believe in Jesus, they have trouble understanding how dying could be considered gain. They see death as the end of all things. For those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, death is just the beginning of an eternity with God. It brings the promise of redemption from a sentence of spiritual death to an eternity of spiritual life where there is no pain, no tears and no death. It takes faith to believe that this is gain. I would also venture to say that is takes faith to believe that there is nothing. Personally, I know where my faith lies.

Is your faith strong enough to proclaim that to die is gain?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you do?

July 17, 2017

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))

Some people do the bare minimum in order to get by. I’m sure you know the type. There is probably someone like this where you work. There may be someone in your family who is like this. I hope and pray that you are not the one who people think of when asked about people like this.

Based on this passage, what do you think the Lord thinks about people who think that all they have to do is read God’s Word? I realize that it is important to read and study God’s Word, but it is not the type of book that you read and study just for the knowledge that you will gain. If you can recite passages verbatim, yet not understand and put that understanding into action, what good does it do? If you can recite the fruit of the Spirit, yet you don’t exhibit any of those characteristics, what good does it do?

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
(Matthew 22:37-29 (NIV))

If you easily quote these words, but do not live it, all that you have accomplished is memorization. You have not grasped the meaning. You have not taken the words to heart and made them an integral part of your life!

God’s Word is truth! God’s Word is life! It has the power to transform you. Have you let it transform you?

Do you just listen or read God’s Word, or do you make it an integral part of your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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When you speak, what do you say?

September 20, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.
(John 7:16-18 (NIV))

When you speak, what do you say?

Do the words from your mouth glorify you or do they glorify the Father?

If Jesus, as part of the Trinity, never spoke to glorify himself, what should our words be doing?

It is human nature to be self-promoting. It is human nature to stroke our own ego and to make ourselves sound more important than we really are. I often think that the fall from grace in the garden took away more than most people realize, for it took our ability to be at peace with our gifts and talents in relation to everyone else. It made us feel inferior while giving us a major desire to make ourselves feel superior. We want, or perhaps I should say that we need to feel that we are much more than we are. Have we been hardwired with a desire to be what we were in the garden only to be left without any understanding of what that was or how to regain it?

All of human history, from the fall from grace to this very day, has been nothing more than billions of stories all focused around me, myself and I.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death–
even death on a cross!
(Philippians 2:5-8 (NIV))

Can any of us honestly say that we would be willing to humble ourselves in such a manner as to point completely to someone else? That is exactly how Jesus lives His life when He walked among us. Everything He said and everything He did pointed to God, the Father.

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))

According to Jesus, we should be following His example!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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