Will this be changing soon?

May 19, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
(Matthew 5:45b (NIV))

I truly love the fact that God shows His mercies to everyone whether we deserve them or not. Based on this passage, He uses everything in His creation to draw people to Himself. Sadly, too many people simply ignore Him, or even worse, they curse Him. He even sent His Son, Jesus, to live in this world as a teacher and to die on the cross as an atoning sacrifice. He even resurrected Jesus from the dead to overcome the power of sin and death, and still, people ignore Him or curse Him.

We are told that a time will come at the end when His wrath will be poured out on the world!

What do you believe will happen with the righteous at this time?

I am sure that someone has drawn this conclusion before, but I want to present a passage that I believe tells us of God’s heart toward the righteous. It comes from the parable of the ten virgins.

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
(Matthew 25:1-5 (NIV))

We know all too well God’s definition of a fool.

The fool says in his heart,
     “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
     there is no one who does good.
(Psalm 14:1 (NIV))

I believe that we can interchange righteous with wise and unrighteous with foolish. Based on that, I believe that we see the next obvious step in the process with those who are ready and waiting for Jesus will be taken to be with the bridegroom!

But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
(Matthew 25:10 (NIV))

I have never heard anything about Jewish wedding traditions that say those waiting for the bridegroom would undergo suffering. I have never heard anything about these traditions that indicate they would miss the joyous celebration. If Jesus is coming for His bride, His bride would be spotless!

We see the sun rising on both the evil and the good. We see rains falling on both the righteous and the unrighteous. I believe that this is in the process of changing.

Will this be changing soon?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How is God working things in your life?

March 14, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 (NIV))

There are so many things that I could ask based on this passage, but they all hinge upon a single question.

Do you love God?

If your answer is that you love God, then have you been called according to His purpose? Have you answered His call?

Contrary to what many people believe, if you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, and you rely on this profession to show that you love God, then you have a calling. We don’t just simply sit back and do whatever we want while reaping the blessings. We are each called to share those blessings with the world. We are called to share Jesus!

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
(Mark 16:15-16 (NIV))

These words were spoken to the disciples after His resurrection and at His ascension, but they still apply to you and I today. The disciples passed that responsibility to others, who passed it to others, who passed it to others as it eventually made it to you and I. The instructions haven’t changed. We, as professing members of the Body of Christ, are all called to preach the gospel. That calling hasn’t changed since it was given, but what has changed are the people who are the ones who should now be responding to that calling. Those people are you and I! What has changed are the individuals who have been gifted with unique abilities to reach people that only they can reach.

Think about that!

There are lost people in your circle of influence who need to know Jesus.

Have you ever shared the Gospel? Have you ever felt a burden for a lost individual? Have you ever prayed for God to show you how to tell someone about Jesus? Have you ever asked God to specifically show you His will and His call upon your life? Perhaps you are simply content going through life thinking that you have your salvation and that someone else will take the responsibility of sharing with the people whom you are called to shared Jesus with?

If you truly love God, then you should want to tell everyone about what He has done.

Think about that in terms of a worldly relationship. When you were dating someone new, you told everyone you know about that person. You probably talked on and on about the cute way that they smiled and how they made you smile. Think about what God has done for you through His Son, Jesus. Isn’t it something far greater than a cute smile? Do you love the Lord? Do you have something so wonderful to share because of this new relationship?

Do you love God enough to share Him with others? Do you simply sit back and allow His calling to go unanswered? If you don’t answer His call, what does that say about your love for Him?

How is God working things in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you called upon the name of the Lord?

February 1, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
     abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
(Psalms 86:5 (ESV))

What do you tell people who claim that God won’t send them to hell because He is love, and why would a loving God do such a thing?

Let that question sink in!

Do you know anyone who professes this belief? Have you ever professed this belief? On the surface, it sounds so appealing and accurate, but is it accurate?

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 it is accurate, then why did God send His one and only Son? Why did He have to go to the cross? Why did He have to die in order to pay for our transgressions, for our sins?

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

Too many people have accepted the lie propagated by the enemy that says that since God is love, He accepts you just as you are and that you do not have to change. They forget one important fact that clearly modifies those with whom God shares His steadfast love.

“to all who call upon you.”

Too many people ignore the fact that we have to call on the Lord to save us, and then His love is poured out upon us. He does love everyone, but He desires for you to repent, accept His gift of grace and mercy, and then follow Him. There is nothing in His Word that says that He will show His redeeming love to those who rebel against Him. All that you have to do is read about Adam and Eve, the flood, the Tower of Babel and many others to see what happens to those who rebel. Countless times, He pleads with those who are in rebellion to turn to Him and live! That is why He sent His Son.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (ESV))

Have you called upon the name of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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Can we truthfully say why we are thankful?

November 24, 2021

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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))

Have you ever wondered why we give thanks to the Lord? The very next passage tells us why the psalmist chose to give thanks.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
        his faithfulness continues through all generations.
(Psalm 100:5 (NIV))

His reasons should be our reasons, but are they? Can we go deeper? Can we truthfully say why we are thankful?

Have you ever found yourself stopping what you were doing and lifting up a heartfelt thank you to God? Have you ever simply told the Lord that you are thankful for all that He has done for you? Have you ever faced something so overwhelming that you had no idea how you would make it through those circumstances only to find that He had gotten your through it? I could go on and on asking questions about different scenarios that should elicit thankfulness to the Lord, but I believe that I can stop. Hopefully you understand that there are so many different reasons to give thanks to the Lord. The psalmist chose to say that the Lord is good. He chose to tell us that His love endures forever. He chose to tell us that His faithfulness will never end. I honestly believe that there are some things within these three characteristics that we should focus on.

How has the Lord been good to you? Chances are good that they are too numerous to ever mention all of them.

How has the Lord shown you His enduring love? Besides the obvious one where He sent His Son, Jesus, to save us from our sins, there are probably far too many instances to count.

How has the Lord been faithful to you? Has He ever turned His back on you when you called out to Him? There is a much better chance that we have turned our backs on Him far more times than we care to admit. If we repent, He is faithful to forgive!

I would like to challenge you to personalize your reasons for entering His gates with thanksgiving.

Can we truthfully say why we are thankful?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you meeting these requirements?

November 15, 2021

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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))

We are required to do three things. I started to say that we are required to do three simple things, but with the history that humanity has, these three things are not simple to do. Humanity has failed miserably at these three things ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden.

How do you do with respect to these three requirements?

Do you act justly one hundred percent of the time or do you find yourself showing favoritism or even selfishness at times? Do you think of others or do you only look out for yourself? Take a long hard look at your motives and your actions before you say whether you act justly.

Do you love mercy at all times or do you find yourself only desiring mercy when it is applied to you? Do you hold a grudge against someone for something that they did to you? Are you willing to forgive?

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
(Matthew 6:14 (NIV))

Do you walk humbly with your God at all times or do you sometimes forget the relationship that you have with God as the Creator while you are the creation? Do you try to tell God how He should do things? Do you try to convince God that you should be His priority because everyone around you is not worth His time? Do you suffer from the dreaded human characteristics of ego and pride?

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
(Proverbs 16:8 (NIV))

Based on these three requirements, every single one of us has very severe shortcomings. If we were undergoing a performance evaluation for our employment based on these three requirements, what type of evaluation would be recorded for you? Isn’t God’s evaluation of us based on these three requirements so much more important than a job evaluation? If we can’t successfully pass a worldly evaluation, how can we expect to pass God’s evaluation of us?

I know that we have been given grace through the atoning blood of Jesus, but that does not excuse us from continuing to do poorly on these three requirements. We are called to mature in our faith, in our walk with Jesus, so that we begin to take on the very characteristics of Christ. In this world, we will never be perfect, but we are called to be continually perfected in order to reflect Jesus in all that we do.

Are you meeting these requirements?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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There is nothing better!

September 24, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
(Psalms 34:8a (NIV))

What is your favorite food?

What is it about that food that you like so much?

Is it the sweetness, the texture, the combination of ingredients, or is it all of these and more?

It is said that eating and drinking are the most intimate of our senses. Most of our other senses are external to us, but taste requires us to take something into our mouth and eventually into our body. We can touch something and immediately determine if it is hot or cold, smooth or rough, and many other possible options. We can look at something and know if it is still or moving, big or small or a number of other possible options. Many times, our external senses deceive us when we look at food. It may look strange, but once we take it into our body, we can and often have a different conclusion.

I am sure that you have heard the saying, “Garbage in. Garbage out.” This applies to so many areas of our lives. Habits, relationships, work ethic and many more all suffer when we put something into them that is garbage. The same can be said for our spiritual life. If we associate with sin, then we will increase in our sins. If we associate with righteousness, our sins will hopefully decrease. If we turn to the Lord and taste of His goodness, we can put the garbage behind us and partake only of the sweetness of the salvation freely given to us at the cross. What the Lord offers is far better than anything the world has to offer. What the Lord offers is an intimacy that changes us from the inside out. In order for this to happen, we must taste of His goodness and accept His goodness through the atoning blood of Jesus.

Salvation is a personal matter. It is a very intimate matter. You have to trust the Lord enough to invite Him into your heart. You have to be willing to take that first taste of His goodness and mercy.

Have you taken that first taste?

There is nothing better!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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He is our one true hope!

July 16, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
      Why so disturbed within me?
   Put your hope in God,
      for I will yet praise him,
      my Savior and my God.
(Psalms 43:5 (NIV))

It seems that people turn to God in times of trouble, only to turn away when things begin to get better. Think back a few years ago to the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Churches were filled with people praying. Where did they all go? Why are they still not there? It seems that when tragedy hits, people realize that they are not in control, but arrogance soon takes over once things begin to return to normal. People tend to forget God in the good times.

I find it interesting that the psalmist wrote about what seems to be the opposite scenario. He praised God during the good times, thanking Him for all that He has done. When things begin to go less than desirably, he wanted to grovel. He was depressed. He was sad. It sounds like he almost turned away from God. He wanted to forget God in the bad times.

Both scenarios are common place. We are an arrogant, yet fickle creation. We have been blessed with individuality, but sometimes that can be our biggest problem. Don’t get me wrong. God created us to be individuals. He created each of us to be unique in all of creation. He cherishes our individuality. It is through this individuality that we each must learn to earnestly seek God, even when we feel like turning from Him. We need to make it an every day occurrence and not just at the times in our lives that are contrary to our natures. For some, this is when we lose control. For others, it is when things are going good. Perhaps it is simply a matter of our personality, but regardless of how God created us, we are to praise Him in all things.

Carefully consider how long a marriage would last if one person only turned to the other for just a few days a month. Now, consider your relationship with God through Jesus. Do you turn to God in much the same manner?

Do you praise God at all times for being your Savior and your God?

He is our one true hope!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is the Lord truly your refuge?

May 20, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Lord is good,
     a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him,
(Nahum 1:7 (NIV))

With the escalation of all that has been happening in the world over the last several years, and especially this last year, have you taken refuge in the Lord?

I find great pleasure in the fact that the Lord is our refuge in times of trouble, especially since we seem to be facing troubles like we have never seen before. Based on Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation, many people firmly believe that these troubles are just beginning. No matter what we may face in this world, we must keep our eyes on Jesus. We must remember the things that He has told us. We must cling to the promises that He has given us. We must turn our attention away from the troubles of this world and look to the One who created this world and the One who is unfolding His plan to restore 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))

How is your relationship with the Lord? Do you completely trust in Him? Do you turn to Him in times of trouble? Perhaps I should ask if that is the only time that you turn to the Lord. Do you go about your life with no thought of God until times get bad? Do you only turn to the Lord when you want something or when you need the Lord to rescue you? If this is your idea of a relationship built on trusting the Lord, you may find yourself in for a surprise.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

Do you do the will of the Father? Do you spend enough time with the Father to even know what His will is? Do you spend enough time in His Word to truly know His heart? Do you truly know Jesus as your personal Savior and also as your Lord, for when you call someone Lord, they are in authority over you. When you call someone Lord, you have a responsibility to obey. When you call someone Lord, you can turn to them for refuge and shelter.

Is the Lord truly your refuge?

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.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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