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 do you claim about yourself?

May 6, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
(1 John 1:8 (NIV))

Do you think that you are a good person?

Have you bought into the lie of the enemy that we are basically good?

Even Jesus did not consider Himself to be good when He walked this earth.

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.”
(Mark 10:18 (NIV))

To be honest with you, this one has me a little perplexed.

Even if you look upon Jesus as God with us, He was fully human. Did He say this because of this human side that theoretically could sin, or did He say this because He had not completed what He came to do and had not been glorified yet? Perhaps it was for the same reason that He often told people whom He healed to not tell anyone. Perhaps it was because it was not part of the plan for Jesus to be glorified as a man before the appointed time.

One thing to look at during His time on earth is the simple statement of His mission.

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

We are all lost because of sin. Not a single one of us is without sin. Not a single one of us is righteous on our own.

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))

Take a serious look at your life. Do you now or have you ever thought that you were a good person? Do you make claims that Jesus refused to make?

What do you claim about yourself?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What have you become?

April 30, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
(2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV))

We all had dreams of what we wanted to be when we grew up. If I took a survey, I would probably get such answers as professional athlete, musician or actor, but how many people make it a priority to become the righteousness of God? How many people have the spiritual maturity to say that they want to become like Jesus in all aspects of their lives?

Even though none of us probably thought of becoming the righteousness of God, Jesus always planned on taking on our sin!

Think about that!

All of the sin of every single person who ever lived and ever will live willingly accepted so that we can be righteous!

Can you imagine the weight and burden of all of that sin and the pain and anguish that Jesus endured in order to trade our sin for His righteousness? He willingly made the trade so that we could become redeemed children of God. All that we have to do to become righteous and redeemed children of God is to accept that gift. 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.

What have you become?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you recognize His ownership?

April 23, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
(Psalms 24:11 (NIV))

Do you know anyone who acts like the world is theirs? Are they arrogant and self-centered? Are they always demanding things of others because they think they are better and more important than everyone else? I realize that I am not painting a very pretty picture of this type of person. They fail to realize that they are just a small part of God’s creation and that all of us are equally loved by the Lord.

If you look at copyright laws, the creator of any work is in complete control of that work. They own it. They have all rights to do with that work whatever they choose to do. According to the creation account in Genesis, God is the Creator of all things and as such, He owns all things. He is Creator. He is eternal. We are like grass.

For,

“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
(1 Peter 1:24-25 (NIV))

Who is the Lord?

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
(Psalm 146:6 (NIV))

We can’t even claim to own ourselves! We are filthy rags.

We can’t save ourselves. We need a Savior.

Thankfully, God loves His creation. As a loving Creator, He is also a loving owner. Thankfully, God sent us a Savior.

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))

When we acknowledge that we are not the center of our world and that we don’t own anything, we can take the next step and rightfully relinquish ownership of our lives. We can accept the gift of grace from the One who is the true owner of all things.

Do you recognize His ownership?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What deceptive words do you need to let go of?

April 16, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.
(Jeremiah 7:8 (NIV))

Why do we trust in things that are not true?

Jeremiah spoke to the Israelites what God wanted him to say. Many people were doing exactly that – trusting in deceptive words. I honestly think that we, as a nation, are doing exactly the same thing as the nation of Israel did. We are putting our trust in things that we should not trust. We are doing things that we should not be doing. We are living our lives as if we were the ones who decide what is right and what is wrong.

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Stand at the gate of the LORD’s house and there proclaim this message:
       ” `Hear the word of the LORD, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the LORD. This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD!” If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever.
(Jeremiah 7:1-7 (NIV))

Deceptive words!

How can we expect God to bless this nation, when we don’t bless God with what we hear and what we see? Think about that for a moment. Think about the history of Israel and hopefully you will see God’s truth about deception and turning to other gods. When Israel lost sight of who they worshipped and whose they were, the nation suffered. Only when they turned back to God did the nation prosper. In recent years, this nation has turned to deceptive words and ways, and now we are suffering. The world, and false gods, have taken over our society. People worship money, fame, power and many other things. Many still profess a faith in Jesus, but what is the priority when we sit in church and think about how we can make more money than the next person? Do thoughts about a new car, or a promotion, or a vacation find their way into your mind when you are in worship? Our deceptive words may be our own selfish thoughts and desires.

`Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”–safe to do all these detestable things? Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the LORD.
(Jeremiah 7:9-11 (NIV))

We all like to place our trust in many things. We want to trust in the economy. We want to trust in government. We want to trust in our family. We seem to place our trust in things that are human in nature, and as such, are prone to fail. We say that we trust in God, yet, we are removing Him more and more from our lives. When we remove God, we are doing the very things that Jeremiah spoke to the Israelites about. We can’t live our lives without God and contrary to God, and then put on a smile and attend church and expect everything to be a blessing.

We need to turn to God and follow His leading.

If someone like Jeremiah came today to this nation, would we listen? Would we believe? It is my prayer that we do listen and we do believe. God gave us His Word to guide us. We aren’t listening to His word like we should.

What deceptive words do you need to let go of?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you desire for God to be exalted?

April 15, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
(Psalms 46:10 (NIV))

I love the instruction given in “Be still, and know that I am God.” I usually stop there and dive into the importance of doing what these words tell us to do, after all, we must learn to slow down and be still in His presence so that we can focus on building the relationship with Him as our God and Father. If you keep reading, there is more. There is so much more! I honestly believe that it applies to the events that are happening in the world today as we live out our lives.

Too many people believe that God’s single purpose was to save us from sin as if He were our servant. He does have a plan to save us, to give us salvation, but there is a major piece that we tend to overlook. God’s plan is to give everyone time to accept His gift of salvation before He defeats the enemy and sin once and for all. Ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, He has moved humanity toward the fulfillment of His plan. This plan will restore perfection and the relationship with humanity that He intended from creation.

God has a timeline!

As things progress, we must turn to the Lord and seek His understanding for where we are and what we need to do. Everything that is unfolding will exalt God among the nations once it culminates in His return. We, as members of the Body of Christ, must know God’s Word and point people to Him, for there is only one way to the Father.

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))

We are to be still in His presence so that we may understand His heart and know His desires and His plan. He sent His Son, Jesus, to live and die as part of that plan. He raised Him from the dead as part of that plan. Jesus is going to return as part of that plan. When He does, He will glorify the Father and defeat the enemy. We must be ready to give an account of the events that we see. We are to be watchers on the wall that point people to Jesus.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:9-11 (ESV))

We must share the good news. We must make sure that everyone has an opportunity to exalt God.

Do you desire for God to be exalted?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you find joy in your trials?

April 14, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
(James 1:2 (NIV))

What is your state of mind considering the present state of the world?

I ask this because all of us have been facing trials that we never thought would happen and we honestly don’t know if and when they will end. With this in mind, are you filled with joy? Do you have a peace in your life that others just don’t seem to understand? If this is true, then it is time to share the reason behind your joy and your peace so that others may come to know the same truths.

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

No one knows what tomorrow may bring. This very moment might be the last opportunity that someone you know has to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. You need to tell them about Jesus! If you believe that the events foretold of in Daniel and Revelation are unfolding, then we should have a sense of urgency in sharing the hope and joy of our salvation with those who need to know Jesus before the time comes when it is too late.

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 know that there will be trouble in this world. Sometimes the trouble is of a personal nature. Sometimes the trouble is of a catastrophic nature. No matter what trouble you face, we know that our redeemer lives! If you truly stop to think about the trials and troubles that this world sends our way, we should have such a joy and a peace just from the knowledge that the One in whom we trust has overcome the world and will see us through whatever we are going through.

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

We have been given a promise that Jesus is with us always in this world no matter what we may face. We are also given a promise that He is preparing a place for us. Based on these promises, why would anyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior ever feel anything less than joy since the promises of hope are true?

Do you find joy in your trials?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Share the Gospel in truth and love!

April 13, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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 he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

This passage never gets old! I have sent this before, but some things are definitely worth repeating.

If you are like me, this passage brings great peace, hope and joy for it reassures us of our faith and where it is placed.

Yet, at the same time, it turns and brings sorrow in the midst of the joy. It turns our focus from our joy to the condemnation of those who have not believed in Jesus.

Do you know someone who has not accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior? Perhaps they are a loved one or a friend, or perhaps a coworker. Now, ask yourself this simple question.

“How will it feel to never see them for all eternity?”

How will you feel if they are taken from us this very day, and you had not even mentioned Jesus to them? How will you feel if their salvation was your sole reason for living and you had failed? How will you feel if you hear another friend or family member saying, “No one had the nerve to bring up Jesus. Now it is too late.”

John 3:16 is an amazingly reassuring passage when it comes to our own salvation. But we have a tendency to stop there. Once again, we fail to look beyond our own circumstances. We fail to see the opportunities that God has placed right in front of us. Opportunities that could very well mean whether someone will spend eternity with God or eternal separation from God.

We must read beyond our own perspective. We must see the world through God’s eyes and not ours. We must realize that grace is a gift that is free to spread.

I once heard someone say that they were a vessel to catch God’s grace. They then went on to say that they did not wish to be a pot or jar, for these were used for collecting for a later time. They wanted to be a tea pot or a watering pot, for these collect and hold just long enough to pass it on to where it is needed.

Don’t be a jar. Be a tea pot so that the grace and blessings that have been given to you may flow out to all those around you. Make it your goal to share grace with all who will hear so that they will be saved from the condemnation that is to come for those who have not believed in Jesus.

Be a tea pot! Share the Gospel in truth and love!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you know peace?

April 7, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”
(Isaiah 57:21 (NIV))

Contrary to what the world will try to make you think, sin is sin, evil is evil, and wickedness is real. It has been part of the human condition ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. We traded God’s perfection for a lie and ever since that day, all of humanity has missed the mark that God had established for His creation. We missed the mark as stewards. We missed the mark in our trust of God. We missed the mark in choosing righteousness over evil. We missed the mark completely.

We sinned!

Sadly, we continue to sin.

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))

Every single one of us are lost in a problem of our own making. It is also a problem that we cannot fix on our own. We cannot overcome sin and achieve the righteousness that God desires on our own merits. It is impossible for a filthy rag to pick itself up, clean itself and make itself presentable to the one who made it. It requires a loving Creator to pick us up out of the filth and wash us clean. It requires a loving Creator to share His righteousness so that the rags can become clean.

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))

I know that you have seen the following words many times, but to be honest with you, there is so much truth that is contained within these eight words.

No Jesus. No peace.
Know Jesus. Know peace!

The world will not give you peace. The world is in a sinful, fallen state. Everything that is in the world has been corrupted and will be used by the enemy to attack. If you are under attack, you are not at peace.

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

Only by accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior will you know true peace.

Do you know peace?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Rejoice in that gift every single day!

April 1, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
(Romans 5:19 (NIV))

Easter is just about upon us. It is the day that we celebrate how the obedience of one perfect man made many righteous.

Have you ever played team sports? Each team sport allows for substitutions. Take a look at baseball. You can have someone take your place and run the bases for you. Basketball allows substitutions for various reasons, including the simple reason of giving someone a much needed rest.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. God perfected the substitution idea and allowed His only begotten Son, Jesus, to take our place so that we would not have to face the ultimate penalty. Jesus took it all upon Himself. He went into the game so that we could face life without the penalty of sin and death.

Friday will soon be upon us. It is the anniversary of when Jesus bore the cross and died as a substitute for us.

Rejoice!

That is not the end of the story. On the third day, Jesus arose and forever changed the rules. Grace abounds because God sent Jesus to substitute Himself and bear the burdens of our sins.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
(Romans 8:1-4 (NIV))

One man made many righteous. Rejoice in that amazing gift this coming Easter Sunday. Don’t stop there. Rejoice in that gift every single day!

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