What have you been asking for?

January 18, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
(1 John 5:14 (NIV))

Did you notice the stipulation in this passage?

All too often, people ask God for things that are from their will and not His. We are so self-centered that even when we are told to bring our concerns to the Lord, we ask as if we were the center of all creation. We ask as if God is our own personal servant whose only purpose is to fulfill our every desire. If this is how you have been approaching God, how has this been going for you?

Do you even spend time in God’s Word in search of His heart?

Do you even spend time in prayer talking to God and actually listening for His still, small voice?

How can you ask God for things that are according to His Will if you don’t even know what His Will is?

We know that God loves us. This is evident through the gift of salvation freely given through the cross. But, do we love Him in return? Do we simply give lip service to this gift and then continue to live as if we are still a part of this sinful, fallen world? Or, do we actually have a change of heart and see the world for what it is? Do we realize that the things that we had desired are now simply last grasps at the world that we say we want to leave behind?

God is not going to hear us if we ask for things of this world. God is not going to answer us if we are only being selfish in our desires.

Think about a young child in a toy store. Every other word out of their mouth is asking for the latest thing that has caught their eye. The parents know what is good and what is proper, yet the child still goes on and on about the things that they want. We are those children. The world is the toy store. God is ushering us through this world while trying to mature us enough so that what we ask for is not what is seen at every selfish turn of our heads. God is not going to give us the toy store of the world. He is going to give us things that are from Him according to His Will. He is going to give us things that will draw us closer to Him while they mature us in our faith.

God does want to bless us, but what we think of as a blessing is not how God thinks of blessings.

If you have been approaching God and you feel that He has not heard you, then you need to ask yourself one very important question.

What have you been asking for?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you believe in the gift of God?

January 10, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

I don’t know about you, but that is one wage that I do not want to collect, and if you don’t repent, it is one that you will collect.

I realize that this statement is rather harsh, but if you stop to think about the consequences of not repenting and accepting Jesus, then this statement is actually sugar coated.

Let me take a step back and ask one important question. What do you think of when you think of death? If you only think of the cessation of the physical body, you are missing out on the eternal aspect and consequences of your existence. Humanity is not simply a physical creature. We are not simply a temporary physical existence with a spirit and soul. We are an eternal spirit and soul with a temporary physical body. We are only passing through this world. This world is not our home! With this in mind, there is another type of death that is far worse than physical death. There is an eternal death that the enemy wants you to not know about. He will do anything that he can to make you think that it isn’t real. He wants to destroy you, both body and soul, for he hates humanity.

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
(Matthew 10:28 (NIV))

If you have never heard this in this way, it may be time to pay attention. God doesn’t want any to perish, but that decision is your. He can’t make it for you. All that He can do, and has done, is offer a way for you to escape this death. He has provided a sinless, spotless sacrifice through Jesus to take all of the sin of everyone who has ever lived. All that you have to do is accept this great gift of amazing grace!

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
(Romans 6:18 (NIV))

All that you have to do is believe!

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 have one more very important question to ask.

Do you believe in the gift of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is a bed fit for a king!

December 22, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
(Luke 2:7 (ESV))

Everyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior knows the story of His lowly birth.

To be honest with you, I am still amazed that He stepped out of heaven to become one of us. How many kings would give up their throne? How many kings would exchange places with the least of their kingdom? How many kings would willingly walk among their people as one of them, only to willingly die so that their people might live?

God’s gift of grace is amazing. It is beyond comprehension, yet, it still happened. It all began with a single birth that the world didn’t even notice, and today, over two thousand years since that birth, that single birth has been used to divide time. It has been used to bring grace and salvation. It has also been used to bring division between those who do not believe and those who do.

Never before or since has a single birth been so crucial to all of humanity!

To those who profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I want to take a moment and wish you a Merry Christmas, for His birth was the beginning of God’s plan to bring about salvation. It is when our Lord stepped out of heaven and went to sleep as a baby in a manger. No bed has ever performed such an important role, for this feeding trough, this manger, became the bed for the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

Have you ever thought of the manger in this manner? Have you ever given thought to how a lowly animal feeding trough became the symbol of the birth of Jesus? The manger now symbolizes new beginnings. It symbolizes grace and mercy. More importantly, it symbolizes God’s love for us.

It is a bed fit for a king!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Don’t you think it’s time to accept this amazing gift of grace?

October 31, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

Do you like gifts?

I realize that I just asked a rhetorical question. Human nature seeks things that are self gratifying, so I can honestly say that I have never met anyone who hates gifts. In fact, most people love to receive gifts. Since this is part of our nature, why do so many people fail to receive the greatest gift of all?

It simply doesn’t make sense!

Thankfully, there are people who have received this amazing gift of grace and are doing all that they can to share the knowledge of this gift to all who will hear, no matter where it may lead them. As I write this, I am tracking a flight that is going half way around the world so that a group of nine men, including my youngest son, can share the Gospel with an unreached tribe in a mountainous region of a country that I don’t want to currently name. They feel called to go and share the good news in a place that is so far outside of the comfort zones of most people in this country. They are flying for two days, and then hiking for three days just to reach this group of people. They know that this gift is so great that it must be shared!

And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
(Romans 10:15 (NIV))

Do you feel that you are being sent to share this amazing gift of grace?

Let me ask another question. Have you even claimed this gift for yourself?

In most of the westernized world, there are churches everywhere. There are preachers and teachers sharing the good news. You can find Bibles in almost every hotel room and in almost every major retail store. You can turn on the television or go to a video website and watch people sharing the Gospel. You can turn on the radio and hear people proclaiming the good news, yet, so many people still turn a blind eye to the truth that can set them free from the power of sin and death. If you are one of these people, don’t wait until it is too late! If people are willing to go half way around the world for people whom they don’t know, don’t you think that there is something to this good news that you need to look at?

Don’t you think it’s time to accept this amazing gift of grace?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you desire to be still in His presence?

July 15, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Be still, and know that I am God;
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

This passage begins with two of the hardest words for anyone to do, especially in today’s world.

Be still!

When was the last time that you were able to be still in this hectic world in which we live? When was the last time that you were able to be still in the midst of the chaos that permeates our lives?

The enemy has come up with so many distractions. We walk around with our eyes glued to our mobile phones. We sit in public places and ignore those around us. We live our lives as if we have to be entertained at all times. We don’t leave any time to sit in silence and listen for that still, small voice.

God is still there. He has not abandoned us. It is we who have abandoned Him. We look at our education, our jobs, our homes, and our bank accounts as what matters the most while we ignore the very thing that we truly need.

We need a relationship with God!

We have been given a way for that relationship to come to fruition, even though we are sinners who don’t deserve the love that the Father wants to give us.

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))

Have you accepted this free gift of grace and mercy?

It’s time to shut off the devices. It’s time to turn off the game. It’s time to stop concentrating on work or finances. We must learn to sit at the feet of Jesus. We must learn to listen to that still, small voice that is lovingly calling to us. We must come to the realization that God is in control and that we are not.

We must learn to be still in His presence! It is something that we must desire!

Do you desire to be still in His presence?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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You don’t have to stay under condemnation!

June 1, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
(Romans 8:1 (NIV))

Do you like to be blamed or held accountable when things go wrong?

That is exactly what condemnation is. We are blamed and held accountable for the sins that we commit. We are all guilty. We are all sinners.

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

No descendants of Adam and Eve can escape the fate that we inherit due to the fall from grace. We are all born sinners and we inherit, we deserve, the consequences of our sins. There is none righteous on our own!

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

But, God . . .

God had another plan to redeem us, to restore us unto Himself. God has a plan to remove all condemnation from us as far as the east is from the west.

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))

If you profess a faith in Jesus, your sins are forgiven. You do not stand condemned. That is the greatest news that anyone could ever receive. With all that is happening in the world at this time, many people believe that His return is coming very soon. We do not want to be found still condemned by our sin when He does return. It’s as easy as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

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

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

It is your choice!

You don’t have to stay under condemnation!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you serving as a faithful steward?

April 20, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
(1 Peter 4:10 (NIV))

Acts of faithful service always have an impact!

With the current state of the world and the uncertainty that everyone is feeling, when was the last time that you used your talent, your gift, to serve others?

Think about that question from an eternal perspective. What if your willingness to serve someone is the final act, the final witness to the reality of God’s love that brings them to a saving knowledge of Jesus? What if your willingness to serve shows them the hope that is theirs if they only accept it? Could you face eternity knowing that you failed to do something that would have changed eternity for someone else?

Every person who professes a faith in Jesus is called to share the Gospel.

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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV))

Not only are we called to share, but if we fail to warn someone of danger, we are held accountable. There is no greater danger than that of an impending eternity separated from the Father. If we fail to use our gifts to warn someone of the danger and show them the path to salvation, we are accountable!

But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.
(Ezekiel 33:6 (NIV))

We must get over the attitude that I have my salvation and everyone else is on their own. Nothing could be further from the truth! God places people in our lives every single day who need to hear the good news of salvation that is only available through Jesus. We have a calling. We have a responsibility to faithfully use the gifts that we have been given to serve others, to bring them into the Kingdom.

Are you serving as a faithful steward?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Accept God’s grace before it is too late!

March 25, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

Are you ready to accept your wages? Perhaps I should ask that another way. Are you ready to pay the price of your wages that you have earned?

I realize that this doesn’t sound very nice, but it is the truth. We argue over minimum wage, but we fail to ever mention the wage that every single one of us owes because of our sinful nature. There is a price to pay for our sin, yet far too many people ignore the fact as if they don’t even care about the consequences of their sinful nature.

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

but…

There is hope!

There is grace!

There is mercy!

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))

It is a common misconception that God rejects people and sends them to hell. On the contrary, they send themselves there because they reject God and His free offer of grace and mercy. With that statement of truth, it becomes important that each and every person take a serious look at their lives and stop rejecting the loving God that created them and is trying to redeem them from the consequences of sin, from the wages of sin.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

Time is short! Nothing is guaranteed.

What if you are the type of person who tells yourself that I will take care of my salvation tomorrow and tomorrow never comes? If that were to happen, are you prepared for the consequences? Are you prepared to discover that you could have avoided the consequences by simply accepting God’s gift of eternal life in Jesus?

Accept God’s grace before it is too late!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Through the eyes of a little child!

December 15, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all–he is the greatest.”
(Luke 9:48 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times and tonight it hit me in a way that I had not thought of before. Perhaps it is the time of year with Christmas very close, but something made me look at this in a different light.

I know that many Christians have trouble with the idea of Santa Claus, but if you consider the roots of this “person,” you come away with a different perspective. Nicholas was a 4th century Christian who was known for helping children. He is also known for other things, but his love and help of children has gained him much notoriety. There are various different stories about Nicholas, but the one thing that stands out is how he used his love for Jesus to reach out to the little children.

Perhaps our understanding of Santa Claus could use a true historical perspective based on church history and not on what society has made him. Perhaps our understanding of many things could use a true historical perspective based on church history.

Could you imagine a Christmas not tied up in gifts and decorations, but in the grace and mercy that God gave us through the manger? Could you imagine a Christmas based on the greatest gift of all times instead of the “perfect gift” that will be obsolete in a short time?

Nicholas came to mind because of his ministry to children. Jesus told us that we are to be as little children. We need to look at His love without the sins of the world trying to cling to everything and distort the truth about the greatest gift that humanity could ever be given.

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

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))

Perhaps we need to look at the gift of Christmas through the eyes of a little child once again!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you received and believed?

December 7, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
(John 1:12 (NIV))

Have you been given this gift?

Perhaps I should ask this in a different manner for this gift is freely given to all, but it takes a willingness to receive the gift. You must ask to receive it in order for the gift to be given. This requires that you humble yourself to the point of recognizing that you are a sinner in need of the gift of a savior. This recognition opens the door to receive so much more than anyone could imagine. It opens the door to receive so much more than anyone could ever do for themselves, for we are all sinners by nature.

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 64:6 (NIV))

The gift is offered to everyone who will accept!

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
(Romans 3:22-24 (NIV))

Nothing in this life is a sure thing. The old saying that we may be hit by a bus is so true. We never know what tomorrow will bring. If tomorrow finds you no longer on this earth, can you say with confidence that you will be with Jesus? Can you say with confidence that you will be recognized as a child of God? It is so simple to ask to receive this wonderful, eternal gift! It is as easy as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

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

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

God made it so simple to receive and believe! Have you received and believed?

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