This a a fantastic reason to be thankful!

August 30, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
     his love endures forever.
(Psalms 118:1 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world. give thanks to the Lord!

To those who do not profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, that may sound completely counter to what you would expect. If you find yourself asking why you should give thanks when prices are high; if you find yourself asking why you should give thanks when people are still reeling from the global pandemic; if you find yourself asking why you should give thanks when there are wars and rumors of wars, and when evil is called good and good is called evil, and when there are more extremes in the world than you can count, then it is time to give thanks to the Lord!

He is good!

His love does endure forever!

For those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, we know that all of this has been foretold. We have a loving God who has told us from the beginning the things that would happen at the end. He does not want us to be alarmed. He does not want us to be caught off guard. He wants us to be vigilant and prepared for the things that He has told us would happen so that when they happen we will know that He is in control.

If you have been led to this devotional and do not know Jesus, I want to ask you a few questions.

Do you have a feeling that something is just not right in the world?

Do you see moral depravity on the increase and wonder what is going on?

Do you have a feeling that what we used to know as normal will never return?

You are not alone. The members of the Body of Christ are feeling it too. We know that the Lord is unfolding His plans and that the time is rapidly approaching when He will judge the world. I don’t have the time to explain in detail just how this happens. Just know that it will happen. There has never been a more urgent time to repent and accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior than now. Do you know where you will spend eternity? Do you think that you are a good person. No one is good except God.

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

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

Give thanks to God for sending us His Son to bring us salvation.

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))

God loves us enough to offer us eternal life through His love that endures forever.

This a a fantastic reason to be thankful!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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His plans are out of this world!

July 22, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
(Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV))

Do you feel like you have hope and a future?

Your answer to that question is all a matter of perspective.

Do you look at your life in relation to how things are in the world around you or do you look at your life in relation to whose you are?

You can feel helpless, hopeless and lost if you focus on the things of this world, especially when the things of this world are progressing as they have been for the last few years. If your hope is based on worldly things, then you truly are helpless, hopeless and lost for the things of this world are rapidly turning evil and depraved. We can focus on the troubles that we are walking through, or we can focus on the promises that are at the end of those troubles and we can focus on the one who is with us even in the midst of those troubles. Even the disciples of Jesus knew that they would face troubles. They also knew that they had placed their faith in the one who has overcome the troubles of this world.

“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))

The words from Jeremiah were recorded when many had been carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. In essence, they were taken captive and taken to another country. Babylon was not a country you went to for a vacation. They took captives from all of the lands that they had defeated in war. They attacked the other countries in order to extend their kingdom! The words recorded within Jeremiah were a promise to those who were in the midst of very difficult times. They were a promise from the Lord that He still had plans for them. He still knew what the future held even though the people in captivity could see no possible reason to have any hope.

The Lord is still saying this today to those who call upon His name!

He has plans for us. He has given us a hope far greater than the promise of the hope that He gave to the exiles. They were looking for freedom in the physical world. We have been given freedom from the consequences of our sins. He has such amazing plans for those who call upon His name. We should know a peace that passes all understanding even in the midst of the chaos of this world. Our peace comes from the One who has overcome the world by defeating sin and death. Our true prosperity is coming as we are given an eternity in His presence.

His plans are out of this world!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you resting in the confidence of these promises?

September 14, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
(John 10:28 (NIV))

This passage comes near the end of a discourse where Jesus identifies Himself as the good shepherd. To paraphrase, He describes the difference between a hired hand who will abandon the sheep at the first sign of trouble and the good shepherd who knows and loves his sheep. The good shepherd will lay down his life for his sheep. That is exactly what Jesus did for us on the cross. He willingly laid down His life so that we could have life! In fact, by professing a faith in Jesus and His authority as the good shepherd, we have a far greater reward than we could have ever hoped for. He has given us a hope far great than anything that we could have ever hoped for.

My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
(John 10:29 (NIV))

We have the assurance that we are in God’s hands and no one is greater than God. No one can steal us away from the love of the Father. No one can rip us out of the Father’s arms and no one can do anything to lessen His love for us.

No matter what the enemy may send your way, you are in the hands of God. You have nothing to fear.

No matter what the world may do to you tomorrow, you are in the hands of God. You shall not perish.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus. Do not look at the world. It has nothing to offer of eternal worth.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
   In the light of His glory and grace.

In this world where events get stranger and stranger all of the time, we must turn our eyes upon Jesus. We must confidently hold fast to the promises of Jesus as the good shepherd. We must confidently hold fast to the promises of eternal life, for there is no other name by which we may be saved.

Are you resting in the confidence of these promises?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Give Him your burdens and He will give you rest.

September 1, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV))

I realize that I have sent this before, but with what is going on in the world, we have a great need to be reminded that we can truly rest in Jesus!

This world piles burden upon burden on us in our daily lives. Our jobs, our obligations, our financial needs, and sometimes even our families and our church become burdens. We must step back and focus on the words of Jesus.

Rest! Everyone desires it, but in this world, true rest cannot come. Rest only comes when one is at peace. Peace is a concept that the world wants but can not grant. True peace only comes from the source of all creation through His Son Jesus Christ. Trade burdens with Jesus and gain peace and rest.

The burden that Jesus bore has paid in full your burden of sin and death. Whatever you are carrying now, He carried to the cross almost two thousand years ago.

Give Him your burdens and He will give you rest.

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted His peace?

May 14, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
(John 14:27 (NIV))

There is so much packed into these three short sentences!

Jesus starts off by telling us that He gives us peace, but we know that the peace that He gives is so much more than the fleeting glimpses that the world shows us.

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

What has the world given you?

You may start to say life and love, but where did those truly come from?

The things that this sinful, fallen world gives us are not what God gives us. Pain and heartache come to mind as just two examples of the not so wonderful gifts the world gives us. Sickness and death come to mind, as well as bitterness and anxiety. In essence, the things that the world bestows upon us are not the gifts that we want.

With that in mind, what has the world actually given to you?

Is it anything that you desire to keep?

What has Jesus given to you? What has God given to each of us in our sinful, fallen nature?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:8‬ (‭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. 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))

Lastly, Jesus tells us to not be fearful and troubled.

“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))

We can stand firmly on the promises of these three sentences, but it comes with a price. We must profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior! We must repent and follow Jesus! Only then will we have the peace that only He can give.

Have you accepted His peace?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does your life show?

April 29, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
(Luke 6:27-31 (NIV))

What has happened to these basic tenants of life?

These words were written as directions on how to live life for those who placed the value of others above themselves. Today, we have become a society of “me” oriented, selfish people who seem to have only one thing on their minds – What do I get out of this?

Is this what Jesus came to this earth to teach us? Did He come to tell us to place ourselves above all others and to hold selfishness, lust, greed and power as our primary objectives for living?

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

How do we have a full life?

Take another look at the words of Luke 6:27-31. All of the actions that we are told to do have a very strong undertone to them. They all have the core fundamentals of love. This love is not the romantic type that our society has come to expect, but, rather, it is the self-sacrificing type of love that requires a spiritual commitment far above the hormonally induced “romantic” love that we see in our lives.

The mark of a true follower of Jesus is a purposeful and deliberate decision to do what Jesus would do. Jesus would offer love, yet He would also offer a way for redemption. We can’t offer redemption, but we can lead people to Jesus, who can give redemption. Perhaps it is this simple task that shows our love the most. We show a hurting world a means of grace and mercy.

What does your life show?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you send your praise?

November 24, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
     and his courts with praise;
     give thanks to him and praise his name.
(Psalms 100:4 (NIV))

All too often we forget this simple statement of faith. We forget to praise God and give Him thanks!

What does that say about our walk with God if we allow ourselves to be diverted from what should be our foremost thoughts? Are we so easily distracted by the temporary things of this world that we ignore the permanent things of God and eternity? Sometimes it seems that we would rather partake of the minute waltz that leaves you exhausted and empty while we ignore the fulfilling rewards of Amazing Grace.

In all things we should give thanks unto God, for it is through Him that we have been given all things good.

When you receive a pay raise at your job, do you thank the envelope that the check came in, or do you thank the boss who gave you the raise? Do you thank God for the blessings or do you thank the blessings, or yourself?

It is a matter of attitude.

Do you acknowledge the source or do you simply acknowledge the blessing? Whom or what you acknowledge and thank is a direct result of your attitude. The right attitude will greatly enhance your praise of the one who is worthy of all praise.

Where do you send your praise?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How can we do any less than love?

September 18, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
(Luke 6:27-31 (NIV))

At what point do you think that God allows us to stop loving our enemies?

And, yes, this could very easily be a trick question.

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))

With that in mind, every single person is a loved child of God.

Does God stop loving? Does Jesus stop loving?

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV))

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
(1 Peter 4:8 NIV))

Love is a powerful force. It can turn an enemy into a brother. It can turn a foe into a friend. It can restore relationships that seem to be lost. It can bring healing and wholeness.

Do you remember the words that Jesus spoke on the cross?

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
(Luke 23:34 (NIV))

If Jesus can pronounce forgiveness and love after suffering what He suffered on the cross, how can we do any less?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is this our attitude?

September 3, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them.
(2 Samuel 24:24 (NIV))

David knew that giving to the Lord meant sacrifice!

How many people today share this attitude and are willing to give even when they may not have an abundance from which to give? This is a difficult lesson to learn, and it is one that I personally struggled with for a long time as a new believer. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the concept that if I give, then I won’t have enough for myself. Did David have that attitude? David was king and probably did not lack for money. As king, he was probably used to people giving him gifts to honor his position. This was one such instance where the owner of the threshing floor probably offered it to David for that reason. Still, David realized that the gift and the sacrifice wasn’t truly from him if someone else gave it for him to use. Even though David was used to receiving gifts, he knew that he had to make a sacrifice out of his own resources in order to truly give to the Lord.

If we were in this situation, would we have accepted the offer and then tried to justify this in our own hearts and minds by trying to claim that they gave it to me so, therefore, it is mine? If I am giving it to the Lord, it is coming from me!

Did it cost you anything?

Perhaps a better question to ask is would you have given it if it had cost you something?

Everyone seeks to receive something from God, and rightly so, for He is a loving God who wishes to do good things for those who call upon His name. In fact, each one of us can receive eternal salvation if we will only accept it. Think about that for a moment. We are not willing to sacrifice when we give to the Lord, but when He gives to us, we think that it didn’t cost us anything so we can’t accept. We expect to sacrifice when we receive, but not when we give. We have accepted the lie that we must work for and pay for anything that is good. We have accepted the lie that says nothing is free.

David knew the cost of giving to the Lord. He knew that a true gift came from a personal sacrifice that reflects the heart of the giver.

Is this our attitude?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you a member of God’s household?

August 31, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,
(Ephesians 2:19 (NIV))

Think about this passage for a moment.

When darkness falls and the doors to the home are locked, who remains inside the home when the homeowner turns out the lights? Who relies on the head of the household to provide security and rest?

I don’t know about you, but I have never seen someone who had the lives of family and friends under the safety of their roof leave doors unlocked so that the enemy could attack. By professing a faith in Jesus, we have been welcomed into the household of God. We have been given not only grace and mercy. We have been given a home that is far more secure than anything we can ever imagine. This world is not our home! We must never forget that we are only passing through on our way to a place that the Lord has prepared for us. We are to be citizens of heaven and we are to be called children of God. Human nature is sinful, but most of us love and provide for our children. How much more will the Lord do for us?

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
(Matthew 7:11 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to truly think about what actually happens when we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior? I realize that there is so much more, but the symbolism of these are represented very eloquently in Ephesians 2:19.

We trade being foreigners and strangers with God to being His children.

We trade being children of sin to being foreigners and strangers to the sinful world.

With all that is happening in this world, we must remember to not be a stranger to God. Are you a member of God’s household?

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