We are called to return His love!

January 25, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
(Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV))

There are truly no better instructions on how we are to love the Lord, but have you ever stopped to truly think about how He loves us? I have often wondered if we are given this passage because that is how He loves us. In our limited understanding, are we being told to mirror the Lord’s love for us back to Him?

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))

How great is His love for us that He would give His one and only Son in order to save us? He did not hesitate to create a plan of redemption knowing what price had to be paid. He willingly paid the price. It sounds like the Lord loves us with all His heart!

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
     He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
     He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
     for his name’s sake.
(Psalm 23:1-3 (ESV))

How great is His love for us that He desired to give us peace, that He desires to restore our souls?

So God created man in his own image,
      in the image of God he created him;
      male and female he created them.
(Genesis 1:27 (ESV))

If you think about that with an understanding of Genesis, we are created in His image. God loves us because we are His creation. We are His children. Each of us are unique and each of us are important in His eyes. It is not a difficult leap of faith to conclude that the Lord loves us with all His soul, or should I say with all His Holy Spirit?

Have you ever tried to truly comprehend the sacrifices, the torture and the pain of the crucifixion? The physical implications are staggering. The spiritual implications are not as visible to us, but they are overwhelming. Jesus took on the sin of all humanity. He paid the price for that sin. The Father had to turn His back on the Son so that this could transpire. God loves us so much that He bore the weight of all sin for all of humanity. I can’t assume to know if this was all of the strength that He possessed. I just know that it was far greater than anything that had ever been seen before. To summarize this, I think that it is clearly obvious that the Lord loves us with all His strength, even to the point of death, descending into hell, and then arising again!

Do you think that this is how God loves us?

We are called to return His love!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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A new name!

January 24, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.
(Revelation 3:12 (ESV))

“and my own new name.”

If you are like me, you have probably read this passage before and did not comprehend the meaning of the word recorded to the Church in Philadelphia.

There are three distinct names that will be written on those who hold on to what they have, who hold on to their faith in Jesus and the truth that comes from that faith.
1. The name of my God
2. The name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem
3. Jesus’ new name

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
(Acts 4:12 (NIV))

I am only speculating, but does this mean that once everything has unfolded and we are in heaven with Jesus, He will have a new name because there will be no one left for Him to save? Yeshua, His Hebrew name, means a savior or a deliverer. It stands to reason, and inferred from this passage in Revelation, that this means that once this part of His persona is complete, He will take upon Himself a new name to reflect His new status in much the same manner that those who are victorious will be given a new name.

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.
(Revelation 2:17 (NIV))

There are so many things contained within God’s Word that we read and will only completely understand once they have unfolded according to His plan. They are the things that will probably happen just when we think that nothing could get any better. I don’t profess to know what His new name will be, but I do know that it will be magnificent. I also know that I long to be in His presence when this day occurs for I love the current name, the name by which we are saved.

A new name!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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There is no one like our God!

January 20, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

With whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?
(Isaiah 46:5 (NIV))

Have you ever tried to fit God into your own image of Him, your own understanding of Him?

I know that we have all done something like this at one point in our lives, but if you truly think about this, then it sounds completely absurd. In essence, the creation attempted to re-create the Creator because the creation possessed a limited understanding of everything. As such, we want to make God into something that we can understand. If we fully understood, then He wouldn’t be God. What we would have is an idol of our own creation. Sadly, that is what many people try to do.

Do we know how to hang the moon and stars? Do we know how to turn day into night? Do we know how to control the passage of time? Do we know how to bring the rains? Do we know how to part the seas? Do we know how to raise the dead? Do we know how to redeem a sinful, fallen humanity?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
     neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
(Isaiah 55:8 (NIV))

I am truly thankful that His thoughts and His ways are not like our thoughts and our ways. If we tried to make God to be like us, He wouldn’t be God! We also would not have a Savior, for the god that we create to be like us would not have the power over sin and death.

Each one of us have a mental image of how we see God. Even though we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, our understanding is still very limited. We can pray. We can read God’s word and study it our whole life, but when we see Him face to face, He will be so much more than we could ever imagine. Let go of the small gods that you have created. Stop trying to put God into your image of Him and fully embrace our Lord God for the majesty and glory that is His alone. Be prepared to be amazed for He alone is good. He alone is God.

There is no one like our God!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you fulfilling His requirements?

January 5, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
     And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
     and to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:8 (NIV))

Sometimes we get so caught up in what the world calls good that we lose sight of what is truly good.

Lately, we have seen things in this world that no one in their right mind would call good. In fact, many would say that the world is calling evil good and good is being called evil. Where do you stand on the things that have been happening in this world? Do you think that they are escalating in frequency and intensity? Do you long for things to return to some type of normalcy or have you started looking up?

If you love the world, you are probably focused on being able to return to the things that you used to know. How does that appear to be going? Do you see any signs of this happening in the near future?

If you love the Lord, you are probably looking around at what is going on and, as a result, your gaze has shifted. Have you started looking for the Lord? I honestly believe that many who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are doing just that. We see signs and know that the time is close. Still, what do we do while still in this world? What do we do when we encounter those who have fallen for the delusion and believe that good is evil and that evil is good?

That is a very tough question, but it has a very simple answer!

We are to treat them in the same manner that we long to be treated. We are to act justly.

We are to show mercy when our human nature eggs us on to fall back into our depraved, sinful nature. We are to love mercy even when we are not shown mercy by this world, for we have been shown the greatest mercy of all.

We are to live out our lives in humility for we are all sinners in need of a Savior. We must not allow our ego and pride to be the stumbling block that prevents someone from coming to a saving relationship with Jesus.

Only God knows what tomorrow will bring. We must allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit in such a way that we are being obedient to His calling no matter what the circumstances. We must always keep our eyes on Jesus!

Are you fulfilling His requirements?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted God’s offer of salvation and grace?

January 4, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.
(Titus 2:11 (NIV))

Salvation!

That is a word that brings up a multitude of thoughts and contradictions in the minds of many. Many of us seek it. Far too many believe that they are beyond all hope of receiving it, and sadly, there are those who seem to think that they don’t need it. What is it about the concept of salvation that has people seeing it from so many different sides?

Perhaps it is a matter of perspective. That perspective that I speak of is how we see ourselves. We can see ourselves as our own personal gods, which indicates that we think that we don’t need salvation. We can see ourselves as the results of evolution, which also indicates that we think that we don’t need salvation. We can see ourselves as so far gone that nobody could want us, that nobody could want to save us, and then there are those who see themselves as sinners in a fallen world without a way to escape the consequences of our sins. I am sure that there are other scenarios, but I hope that you understand that people have a choice. We have to make up our own minds. Perhaps that is why it says that God offers salvation. He can’t make us accept it, but He can freely offer it to anyone who is willing to accept this wonderful gift of grace.

Once we accept God’s offer, we accept the fact that we need spiritual maturity and that we need to be taught God’s ways and desires for our lives. It teaches us that we must put aside our sinful nature. We must repent and live according to His Word. It teaches us that something better is coming and that we should eagerly wait for His return.

It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
(Titus 2:12-14 (NIV))

Salvation means so much more than being saved from the consequences of our sins. It means that we are saved from the ungodliness and worldly passions that permeate this world. It means that we hold firm to the promises that He will return for us. It means a change of heart and a change of mind. It also means a change of citizenship from that of one in this world to that of one eternally in the Father’s presence.

It is your choice what to do with God’s offer.

Have you accepted God’s offer of salvation and grace?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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And His name is Jesus!

December 13, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For to us a child is born,
     to us a son is given,
     and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
     Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
     Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
(Isaiah 9:6 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of a child being born?

What do you think of when a son comes into a family?

There was a time in history, and it is still this way in many cultures, where a child, especially a son, meant a new beginning. It meant an inheritance. It meant that authority would soon be passed from the father to the son. It was a right of passage and a transition from the old to the new. The son was to be groomed to assume all authority at an appointed time.

We have been given a Son and His name is Jesus!

He came as a child, but He was not like any other child. He was God with us. He grew into a man and taught the truth about God’s Law. Law comes from the authority of the government and His authority was final. He did away with the man-made rituals and interpretations that had corrupted God’s Law. He taught that it was more important to fulfill the intent of the Law and not the letter of the Law.

He turned the religious authority upside down. He turned the world upside down.

Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
(Matthew 20:26-28 (NIV))

Does it go against your limited human understanding to comprehend, to accept the fact that God stepped out of heaven into the world that He created to save the world that He created? The God of all creation did not come into the world to be served, to be worshipped, but to serve by showing us how He intended for us to live! He stepped down from His eternal throne surrounded by angels into a manger in a stable! If that doesn’t blow your mind, then nothing will. He loves us that much!

We all love when a child comes into a family. How much more should we love that the child has come to redeem us to Himself?

And His name is Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you open to the leading of the Lord?

December 8, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
(Matthew 2:12 (NIV))

Do you believe that the Lord speaks to people?

Perhaps I should ask if you believe that the Lord still speaks to people today, for we are told that He either spoke directly, sent angels, or gave people dreams all throughout the Old Testament and even in the account of the birth of Jesus in the New Testament. So, why do so many who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior believe that the Lord doesn’t speak to people today?

Have we become so overwhelmed by the distractions of this world that we don’t allow His still, small voice to penetrate into our lives? Are we afraid to sit in silence because we are afraid of what we will hear? Are we afraid that we will have to change something that we don’t want to change, so we don’t even try to listen.

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

If we want to hear from the Lord, we have to be prepared. We have to sit at His feet and be receptive to what He is saying. If you look at the story of the Magi from this perspective, things start to make sense. They had already been searching to see God. That is how they knew to follow the star. It only makes sense that God would then communicate with them by sending them a dream, after all, they had gone considerably out of their way to find Him. It also fit into His plan to protect Jesus, Joseph and Mary. This touches on another aspect of hearing from the Lord. When you ask God for things that are selfish in nature, you have the wrong focus. When you ask God for things that are according to His Will, you have the right focus and have positioned yourself to be receptive to whatever the Lord may say or do.

Are you open to the leading of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you fully comprehend the majesty of our Lord?

December 3, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
(Colossians 1:1 (NIV))

At this time of year it is easy to think of Jesus as the firstborn, as a baby, but too many of us fail to go beyond that miracle to embrace all of the other miracles and wonders that are Jesus!

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
(Colossians 1:16-20 (NIV))

If I try to expound on what Paul wrote, I will fail miserably. All that I will say is that we must look at Jesus as so much more than the baby in the manger. We must look at Jesus as so much more than a great teacher. We must look at Jesus as so much more than a man. I realize that it is beyond our human understanding to fully grasp that Jesus was fully man and that He was also fully God. The human side we understand, but we have no way of truly knowing what fully God means. We have no way of truly putting into words what that means simply because we do not understand what it means to be God!

Do you fully comprehend the majesty of our Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you overwhelmed by His love for us?

December 2, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Who, being in very nature God,
     did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
     by taking the very nature of a servant,
     being made in human likeness.
(Philippians 2:6-7 (NIV))

Is it in your nature to submit to someone? Is it in your nature to willingly be a servant to others?

Human nature is a strange thing. We are fraught with anxiety, fear, distrust, pride, and so many other characteristics that don’t allow us to willingly submit, to willingly be a servant. Each of us are focused on three people: me, myself and I. It is true that some of us are better at hiding it than others, but even the so-called best of us are guilty of trying to elevate ourselves over anyone and everyone that we can. Sadly, we inherited these characteristics from the father of lies because of the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. It is that same fall from grace that separated us from God. It is that fall from grace that made us like satan in that we long to be in authority of others.

That was not God’s plan!

He created us to be in intimate fellowship with Himself and with others. Ever since the Garden of Eden, God has unfolded a plan to restore us to that relationship, that intimate fellowship. He did something that we can’t fathom because of our ego and pride. He sent His Son, Jesus, to be one of us. The God of creation came into His creation not as God, but as a man. He came into this world as a servant. He came to show us how to live. He came to show us how to relate to each other. He came to show us how to relate to Himself, and He came to do what was required to bring restoration to a sinful humanity.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
(Luke 19:10 (NIV))

It takes a servant’s heart to do what Jesus did. Could you give up your comfort, your security, and your position to go into a location that didn’t know you and didn’t recognize you? Could you give up your life to reach those to whom you went? Perhaps you would have simply sent someone else to do it for you? Think about who Jesus is and what He did.

Are you overwhelmed by His love for us?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you truly understand the depths of God’s love?

November 29, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(John 1:1 (NIV))

Is this concept so simple that we try to make it complicated? Is it so complicated that we try to make it simple, or is it truly clear and understandable?

I have read this passage many times and I have come to the conclusion that is is only truly understood once you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Up until that time, it seems paradoxical in nature. Up until that time, the very message that is conveyed within these words simply falls on deaf ears. We have no point of reference to allow us to understand.

We cannot comprehend the truth that nothing existed except His Word, and that through His Word, everything came to be. We simply cannot comprehend the truth that through words alone God spoke everything into existence. We cannot understand that there is this type of power in God’s Word. We cannot fathom the possibilities that this is true simply because we fail to see the power of words in our lives. Think about that. When was the last time dreams were shattered by someone’s words? When was the last time that your life was completely changed by someone’s words? If our words can alter lives, why do we fail to recognize that God’s Word has the power to create lives and to create everything?

To get back to my statement that these words truly become understood only after accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you have to understand just who Jesus is!

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

In other words, Jesus is God’s Word made flesh! To simplify this, let’s use some mathematical symbolism. Jesus = the Word.

Only when you realize that you can do simple substitution because of this fact do you truly come to the following realization.

In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.

This should put a completely new understanding on a passage that we all know.

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 pray that this gives you something to think about as we enter into this Christmas season.

Do you truly understand the depths of God’s love?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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