Is sharing the good news of Jesus your priority?

November 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
(Acts 20:24 (NIV))

What is your biggest priority in your life?

Some people might answer that their biggest priority is family. To be honest with you, that is a good priority to have. but is it the biggest priority?

Some people might answer that their biggest priority is to leave their mark in the world. Do you think that whatever mark they may try to leave will even be remembered one hundred years from now?

Some people might answer that their biggest priority is to make lots of money. This, in and of itself, is not bad. What is bad is the love of money. If you want to make lots of money simply because of greed, what does that get you?

No matter what your priorities are in life, if you are a believer in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then everything pales in comparison to placing the Lord first.

You shall have no other gods before me.
(Genesis 20:3 (NIV))

Is there any priority in your life where placing the Lord first would not be a better option? If you place your family as a priority, imagine how much better it would be if you, and your family, placed the Lord first. What if leaving your mark on the world meant that you shared the Gospel with those around you and you lead many to a saving grace in Jesus? You would be remembered for all eternity by those whom you led to Jesus. If you desire to bring in lots of money, what if it was a priority to bring in lots of money to buy Bibles to distribute to those who desperately want God’s Word.

What we place as a priority is only bad if that priority is not Christ centered. Each of us have a different calling. Each of us have a unique way to share the Gospel. Our gifts and our desires should not be our priorities. How we use them to testify to the good news of God’s grace should be the utmost priority.

Is sharing the good news of Jesus your priority?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How can we accept forgiveness if we cannot give it?

August 21, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
(Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV))

Does this bother you?

Do you ignore scriptures like this because it goes against what you want to believe? Does it remind you of someone that you still have not forgiven because of something that happened years ago? You did not realize that your salvation could possibly hinge on your ability to forgive others. God’s grace and mercy are truly a gift, for we cannot earn our salvation. Yet, these words speak of the possibility of losing that gift.

How could this happen?

Take a look at the true meaning behind God’s grace. Does He hate us or does He love us?

Hate would not offer a gift such as grace. Hate would call for revenge. Love is the only thing that can offer a gift such as grace. When we accept Jesus with our whole heart, mind and spirit, we fully accept His love for us and then His love indwells us in the form of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is part of the Triune God that we worship. If the Holy Spirit indwells us, then we have love for others within us. This love would cause us to pass God’s grace and mercy on to others. It would not allow us to harbor hatred and unforgiveness if we truly face what we have hidden from ourselves.

Closely examine every hiding place within your memory to search for those that you have not forgiven, for how can we accept forgiveness if we cannot give it?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There are no limitations to God’s grace!

October 16, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.
(Isaiah 59:1 (NIV))

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed grace and mercy? Have you ever come to the false conclusion that you are so far gone that God cannot help you? Do you think that your sins are so great that God cannot rescue you?

All too often I hear people say that God couldn’t possible love them because of all of the things that they have done. I hear people say that God would not want to rescue them because of these very same things. I hear them say, “How could He love me after all that I have done?”

Luckily, grace knows no limitations for none of us are worthy!

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))

Thankfully, grace is not based on our righteousness. It is based on God’s love. Think about God’s love based on these words from John 3.

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. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

If God was willing to offer His only Son, what does that say about His love for us? With this in mind, I pray that you come to the realization that there are no limitations to God’s grace!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has God’s light overcome the darkness of your heart?

May 9, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
(2 Corinthians 4:6 (NIV))

Do you think that you are too big of a sinner to be saved by God’s grace?

Do you think that the things you have done are so bad that God cannot possibly love you?

Do you feel that your heart is so dark that God’s light could never penetrate it?

Do you think that your life is darker than the darkness of the void before God spoke to bring forth light?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have bought into one of the biggest, if not the biggest, lie of the enemy. If God can create light that can pierce the darkness, you are not beyond God’s reach. To be honest with you, if you answered yes to any of these questions, you have an issue with pride. You don’t want to admit that you are a part of God’s creation and are worthy of redemption. Instead, you elevate yourself to a place that is above God. If God is able to see all, do all and know all, then you have positioned yourself, at least in your mind, where you are more powerful than God. You have limited God by saying that He cannot do something, and that something is breaking through the darkness that you have in your heart!

God’s light is a redeeming force that is freely given to anyone and everyone who will simply ask.

Are you too proud to ask to be saved from an eternity of darkness where you are cast away from the presence of God?

God’s light can overcome anything.

Has God’s light overcome the darkness of your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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I pray that you encounter the riches of God’s grace!

December 7, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

The riches of God’s grace!

Grace came into the world one night long ago in the little town of Bethlehem. Grace escaped wrath at the hand of Herod. Grace returned unassuming and grew wise, finding favor in the eyes of God and man. Grace performed miracles. Grace offered salvation. Grace died on the cross to redeem us from the consequences of our sins. Grace rose again and now sits at the right hand of God the Father.

Grace has a name. Grace comes only through Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God!

We are just a few days away from the day we celebrate as the birth of Jesus. This is the day that we celebrate as the beginning of hope. It is hope in the life that brought grace and mercy. It is the celebration of the moment that God stepped out of time to redeem us to Himself.

Even though it is widely agreed that Jesus was born in the springtime, the day that we celebrate is symbolic. It marks in our hearts the culmination of waiting for our Lord and Savior. It sets a point in our lives that we can look to and proclaim that our salvation is here!

Contrary to what the world may say, Christmas is not about the presents and the decorations. It is about the birth of a baby who was and is like no other baby ever born. It is about the birth of the one who came to set us free. It is about the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus.

What is Christmas to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you a walking contradiction?

August 21, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?
He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart
and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,
who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the LORD,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,
who lends his money without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
will never be shaken.
(Psalms 15:1-5 (NIV))

If these do not offer great insight into how we should live, then I don’t know what does. These verses tell us exactly how we should live each and every day. In other words, we should treat each other as we would want to be treated. We should love each other as we would want to be loved. We should turn our eyes toward the things that are of God and turn away from things of this world. We should read and study God’s Word so that we may be well prepared to react in a righteous manner.

And …

We should pray. We should pray for guidance. We should pray for discernment. We should pray for understanding. We should pray for wisdom. We should simply pray that we may lead our lives so that they are an example of God’s grace and mercy in all that we do. Perhaps St. Francis of Assisi stated it best when he said:

Preach always. When necessary, use words.
(St. Francis of Assisi)

Our lives are very visible signs of what we truly believe in. If we profess a faith yet do things that are opposite of those spoken of in the passage from Psalms, we preach something different with our actions than we do with our mouths. We send out contradictory messages. How can the world believe what we say when we do otherwise?

Are you a walking contradiction in the eyes of the world and of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t allow the thorn in your flesh to keep you from God!

May 22, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9a (NIV))

I can relate to what Paul wrote about. He was afflicted with a “thorn in his flesh” that he prayed for God to remove. It did not happen. Instead, God answered with the passage quoted above.

Sometimes the answer that God gives us when we pray is not what we want to hear. It is a difficult lesson to learn, but many times what we pray for is self centered and we do not see the bigger picture of what God has planned. This hit home all too hard today. I know that God has everything under control. Still, from our limited, human perspective, it is difficult to comprehend the bigger picture when we are so engrossed in the details that are front and center in our every day lives.

This is when faith kicks in. After we go through the denial phase that is so typical of human reaction, we must step back and look at the situation through God’s eyes. Instead of asking “Why did this happen?” we must ask “What do you want me to learn from this?” “How can I be a witness through this?” “How can your Light shine through this situation so that it is obvious that it is you, Lord?”

Even though it is not I who have to face this particular “thorn in the flesh,” I can relate to what Paul wrote. I am also learning to relate to how God’s grace will produce results that we cannot begin to imagine.

We all have our “thorn in the flesh” that keeps us from being what we want to be. The question that we must ask ourselves is have we turned that “thorn in the flesh” over to God for Him to use? Do we rely fully on God’s grace?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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