Are you praying for those who share the Gospel?

December 5, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,
(Ephesians 6:19 (NIV))

Did you realize that Paul coveted the prayers from those whom he had ministered and taught so that he could reach others for Jesus?

Think about the implications of that concept. Paul, even though we consider him to be the man who took the Gospel to the Gentiles, realized that he is not capable of anything in his own strength. He wanted, or should I say that he needed constant under girding through the prayers of others for his ministry. He specifically asked them to pray that he be given the words that will fearlessly make the Gospel known. He realized that he is nothing without the power and guidance of the Lord. He realized that his words were useless, but the words spoken by the Holy Spirit through him were powerful beyond anything that any human could comprehend.

Take a look at the times in your life when you felt inadequate, when you felt at a loss for what to say. If you are like me, you simply stop and pray to be given the right words to reach the people who need to hear them. That is probably what Paul did as well, but he took it up a notch and asked for others to pray the same thing for him. Paul realized the power of prayer and he earnestly asked for the prayers of others.

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16b (NIV))

We don’t hesitate to seek the prayers of others when we need God to intervene in our own lives. Let’s use this same approach and join in praying that we can fearlessly make the Gospel known. We must pray for ourselves and others to be given the words that will lead others to the saving knowledge of Jesus. If Paul, whom we consider to be a man who opened the Gospel to the world beyond Israel, earnestly asked for prayer to be able to fulfill his calling, then why should we think that we don’t need to do the same thing? Have we had Jesus appear to us in such a way that our whole life was changed? Are we stronger in our faith than Paul? Have we walked from country to country preaching and teaching the good news of Jesus? Are we as committed as Paul?

I know that I am nothing in God’s plans. He could easily raise up someone else to reach those whom He has called me to reach. My prayer for myself is that He continue to give me the words to share that will draw people closer to Jesus. In fact, like Paul, I covet your prayers for this. I ask for your prayers as I continually seek His wisdom each day. I also pray that you will open your heart to being prayed for. Every day that I sit down to do this, I pray for the Lord to give me the words that He would have me to say to reach whom He needs me to reach. In praying this, I also pray for the unknown-to-me individuals whom God has directed to what He has had me send.

I do not take these devotionals lightly. For the last twenty-five years, I have made it a point to not put my name front and center, for these are not about me. I take the following passage very seriously.

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
(James 3:1 (NIV))

With that in mind, I ask for each of you to pray for those who share God’s word, whether in full time ministry or in daily living. Pray that we seek His truth before we write or speak. Pray that we choose to use the words that God has given us. Pray that we stand firm in the seriousness of what we do.

Are you praying for those who share the Gospel?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you alert and of a sober mind?

November 1, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
(1 Peter 5:8 (NIV))

If you take the time to research things that are happening in the world, then you are probably just as saddened by the overwhelming lack of sober minds as I am. It is very obvious that the enemy has not only been looking, he has been finding many to devour!

Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
(1 Peter 5:9 (NIV))

I know many people who claim to possess a faith in Jesus, yet they have abandoned the very things that Jesus said to do. They have abandoned the very reason, to seek and to save the lost, that Jesus said is why He came to this earth. They have replaced it with a social agenda. Is this being alert to the truth of the Gospel and keeping a sober mind in the midst of societal pressures? If we are called to be salt and light to a dying world, shouldn’t we be having an impact on the world instead of the world having an impact on us?

Is this how the devil is able to select who he will devour? Does he select people who don’t know scripture well enough to know what is truth and what is a lie?

How do you become alert and attain a sober mind?

I would venture to say that both of these come from an in-depth relationship with the Lord; one in which you dive deeply into God’s Word and meditate on it day and night. It also comes from a very active life of prayer in which you seek His heart first. Once you know these things, then you will be able to spot the lies of the enemy. You will have put on the full armor of God and will be able to stand firm!

Are you alert and of a sober mind?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Don’t you think it’s time to accept this amazing gift of grace?

October 31, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV))

Do you like gifts?

I realize that I just asked a rhetorical question. Human nature seeks things that are self gratifying, so I can honestly say that I have never met anyone who hates gifts. In fact, most people love to receive gifts. Since this is part of our nature, why do so many people fail to receive the greatest gift of all?

It simply doesn’t make sense!

Thankfully, there are people who have received this amazing gift of grace and are doing all that they can to share the knowledge of this gift to all who will hear, no matter where it may lead them. As I write this, I am tracking a flight that is going half way around the world so that a group of nine men, including my youngest son, can share the Gospel with an unreached tribe in a mountainous region of a country that I don’t want to currently name. They feel called to go and share the good news in a place that is so far outside of the comfort zones of most people in this country. They are flying for two days, and then hiking for three days just to reach this group of people. They know that this gift is so great that it must be shared!

And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
(Romans 10:15 (NIV))

Do you feel that you are being sent to share this amazing gift of grace?

Let me ask another question. Have you even claimed this gift for yourself?

In most of the westernized world, there are churches everywhere. There are preachers and teachers sharing the good news. You can find Bibles in almost every hotel room and in almost every major retail store. You can turn on the television or go to a video website and watch people sharing the Gospel. You can turn on the radio and hear people proclaiming the good news, yet, so many people still turn a blind eye to the truth that can set them free from the power of sin and death. If you are one of these people, don’t wait until it is too late! If people are willing to go half way around the world for people whom they don’t know, don’t you think that there is something to this good news that you need to look at?

Don’t you think it’s time to accept this amazing gift of grace?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you appropriately dressed?

September 12, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
(Ephesians 6:13 (NIV))

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you have an assignment. You have been given marching orders. We are to go into all the world and share the Gospel. We are also told that we will face tribulation in this world, but to rely on Jesus because He has overcome the world.

We are also told to dress for battle!

If you believe that God is love and accepts everyone no matter what their lifestyle and the sin that they practice, then this doesn’t make sense. But, if you hold fast to the truth that Jesus came to set the captives free, to deliver the sinner from bondage, and to offer hope to a sinful, dying world by calling sinners to repentance, then you fully understand why we are to dress for battle. We will be facing the enemy. We will be facing the father of all lies. We will be facing an entity who utterly hates those who profess a faith in Jesus and in God the Father. In all of this, Jesus is our protector. He is our champion. He is our armor. He is THE full armor of God!

We are to fully clothe ourselves in Jesus, who is the Word made flesh!

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(Ephesians 6:14-17 (NIV))

In light of the events that are transpiring in this world, we need to fully clothe ourselves with Jesus. We are to recognize and clothe ourselves with the armor that only He can provide. When we do this, we no longer fight the battles. The battle then belongs to the Lord!

With this truth, are you still fighting the battles based on your abilities or have you allowed the Lord to fight for you and to protect you? Are you trying to stand in your strength or are you standing in His strength?

It is time that you answered one very important question.

Are you appropriately dressed?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Fully commit yourself to the Lord!

August 23, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
(Revelation 3:16 (NIV))

Laodicea literally means the will of the people!

They professed a faith, yet lived as if they didn’t. They thought that they were rich in both the ways of the world and in spiritual matters. They didn’t look to God. They looked to themselves. The letter to Laodicea was far from encouraging. This is the only letter of the seven written to the churches that had nothing good to say about their faith.

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
(Revelation 3:14-22 (NIV))

If I were to venture a few speculations, I think that I could safely say that they had taken worship out of their assemblies if they even met at all. They didn’t need to worship for they felt that they had it all. The Lord was not the center of their assemblies or their lives, and I think that it is safe to say that they barely gave what I refer to as lip service. Their hearts were not in it because they felt that they had to reason to worship in truth for they had made themselves rich.

Does that sound familiar in the society that we see today? We see people engrossed in what they have accomplished and in what they want that they completely forget to even acknowledge the Lord in any way at all.

We have become a society where anything and everything is feasible because truth is relative. Each person has their own truth, but how has that gone for us the last several years? We are now a society that is triggered by facts and the truth. Feelings and personal desires are now what is important. Dare I say that we are even seeing this in our churches? Some churches are no longer preaching the saving grace of the Gospel of Jesus, but are preaching a gospel of social justice or personal empowerment. If there is no absolute truth, everything breaks down. With all that is happening in the world, are we seeing this happening in real-time? Has insanity become the new normal? I heard someone say the following in reference to what is happening in the world, and in the church.

Is the tail wagging the dog?

We should recognize this to mean that things are out of order. Perhaps the following makes that statement better.

Is the cart before the horse?

Personally, every single time I see something ungodly happen, the following comes to mind. I think that it says it best, especially when God told us that He would give people over to their reprobate minds.

Are the inmates running the asylum?

In the days ahead, we, as the Body of Christ, must stay true to His Word. We must cling fast to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and never allow anything to work its way into our lives and dilute the truth. As believers, we are supposed to be on fire for the Lord. We are supposed to be the light of the world. Don’t allow that fire to die down and the light to be put out. Don’t let your flame become just a warm ember.

Fully commit yourself to the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ashamed to tell others about Jesus?

July 18, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

If Paul, who was originally persecuting followers of Jesus, can truthfully claim that he is not ashamed of the gospel, why do so many people today claim that they can’t tell anyone about Jesus?

Think about that question in relation to this passage from Matthew.

“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33 (NIV))

If we aren’t willing to tell others about Jesus, what does that sound like to you? Is there a difference between not sharing Jesus and disowning Jesus? How does this relate to what we have been given as our instructions as followers of Jesus?

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
(Matthew 28:19-20a (NIV))

Is not sharing the gospel with others the same as denying Jesus? If we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves, then how can we justify not sharing the grace and mercy and love that Jesus offers with those who are our neighbors? It seems to me that this is denying Jesus before men!

Are you ashamed to tell others about Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you standing firm and fully ready?

March 17, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
(Ephesians 6:14-15 (NIV))

What do you envision when you think of standing firm?

Most people think of being resolute and immovable. They think of bracing for impact from an onslaught or attack. They think of never surrendering. They think of taking a stand and being willing to sacrifice all for that stance.

Have you ever thought of readiness as a characteristic of standing firm?

From a physical standpoint, when you make a decision to stand firm, that does not mean that you simply become a statue. Your senses are heightened. You constantly adjust back and forth on your feet and you stay alert and focused. Truly making a decision to stand firm is so much more than simply digging in and trying to present yourself as an immovable object. You are probably more alert than you have ever been. You are probably more agile than you have ever been, and you are probably more committed than you have ever been.

Based on this, if we stand firm in our faith in Jesus, we do not simply dig in our heals and wait for the enemy to overrun us. We prepare! We arm ourselves with His Word and we are constantly on the lookout for the attacks of the enemy, no matter how subtle.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
(Ephesians 6:13 (NIV))

How is your armor fitting?

Does God’s Word shield you from the attacks of the enemy or are you still trying to step into the protective power that is ours through His Word? Better yet, have you taken it to the next level where you are ready to fully embrace the power of His Word to defeat the enemy? Do you know how to defeat the enemy? That is something that everyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior must be ready to do.

Call upon His Name!

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
      in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
      to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:10-11 (NIV))

Call upon the name of Jesus in power and authority. God’s Word is our armor and the name of Jesus is our weapon to overcome the enemy!

Are you standing firm and fully ready?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been positioned for Kingdom purposes?

June 28, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?
(Esther 4:14 (NIV))

God places people in positions and circumstances in order to fulfill His purpose. Not many of us will have such a high calling and purpose as Esther. Just to refresh your memory, Esther was a Jewish orphan raised by her cousin, Mordecai. Through a series of events, she became the wife of the king of Persia. God had placed her in a position to save His people when Haman conspired to have all of the Jews killed because they would not bow to him. Even though there was great danger for her to approach the king, she recognized that God had placed her in this position for “such a time as this.”

Esther is not the only person that God has orchestrated into certain situations in order to fulfill His purposes. He is still doing it today!

God’s people faced death if Esther did not act. Today, many people potentially face eternal separation from God if we do not act. If we profess a faith in Jesus, then we have been given an assignment. We are to share the Gospel, the good news of Jesus!

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
(Matthew 28:19-20a (NIV))

We have been placed at a point in history and location where God wants to use us to reach others. Some people who study prophecy are calling our current time the end of the age.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(Matthew 28:20b (NIV))

This means that the Lord is still with us. This means that the assignment has not changed. This means that each of us are positioned so that God can use us. Are you willing to be used? If the Lord is your coach, are you ready and willing to go into the game and do what needs to be done? Think about your life. Think about your family and friends. Think about the people you work with. You have been positioned in the lives of these people for a reason.

Have you been positioned for Kingdom purposes?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you serving as a faithful steward?

April 20, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
(1 Peter 4:10 (NIV))

Acts of faithful service always have an impact!

With the current state of the world and the uncertainty that everyone is feeling, when was the last time that you used your talent, your gift, to serve others?

Think about that question from an eternal perspective. What if your willingness to serve someone is the final act, the final witness to the reality of God’s love that brings them to a saving knowledge of Jesus? What if your willingness to serve shows them the hope that is theirs if they only accept it? Could you face eternity knowing that you failed to do something that would have changed eternity for someone else?

Every person who professes a faith in Jesus is called to share the Gospel.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV))

Not only are we called to share, but if we fail to warn someone of danger, we are held accountable. There is no greater danger than that of an impending eternity separated from the Father. If we fail to use our gifts to warn someone of the danger and show them the path to salvation, we are accountable!

But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.
(Ezekiel 33:6 (NIV))

We must get over the attitude that I have my salvation and everyone else is on their own. Nothing could be further from the truth! God places people in our lives every single day who need to hear the good news of salvation that is only available through Jesus. We have a calling. We have a responsibility to faithfully use the gifts that we have been given to serve others, to bring them into the Kingdom.

Are you serving as a faithful steward?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you prepared to proclaim it clearly?

April 9, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.
(Colossians 4:4 (NIV))

When Paul wrote this sentence, it was part of a bigger communication that he sent while he was literally in prison. There is some variation on the understanding of the exact details of his imprisonment, but everyone agrees that it was because he was preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was arrested in Jerusalem, but because he had earned a Roman citizenship, he appealed to Caesar and was sent to Rome. This lead to his imprisonment.

In essence, Paul was in prison for proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even in these circumstances he continued to preach. These few words even show that he was asking for prayer for his efforts to continue in proclaiming the Gospel. To put it simply, he was praying and asking for prayer to be able to continue doing the exact thing that got him put in prison to begin with!

Could we have the courage and faith to do this?

Could we stand firm in our faith even though it was our faith that got us into trouble with the earthly authorities?

There are many variations on the following words, but this should be the desire of everyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world, than stand with the world and be judged by God.

Paul wasn’t afraid to stand with God and proclaim the Gospel. He was willing to be judged by the world for his obedience. Are you?

Are you prepared to proclaim it clearly?

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