Have you taken the action needed to be redeemed?

October 5, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
(Ephesians 1:7 (ESV))

Have you ever stopped to look up a dictionary’s definition of redemption or what it means to be redeemed? According to Merriam-Webster, the word “redeeming” means serving to offset or compensate for a defect. With that definition in mind, then it is safe to say that redemption indicates that we have had something done for us that has been done to compensate for a defect. All of humanity suffers from this same defect as a result of the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. Our defect is sin!

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

We all need something to compensate for, to offset the sinful nature that we are born with. Redemption is a legal process that requires an exchange. There must be someone with the authority to make the offer of redemption, and, once that offer is made, it requires action on the part of the one being redeemed. The offer was extended by the ultimate authority. It was extended by the Creator of everything. It was extended to sinful humanity by God!

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))

Our response, our reaction is simple. All that we have to do is accept! It is as easy as ABC.

A is 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.

Once you have made this decision, once you have professed these truths, once you have accepted the free gift of God’s grace, then you have been redeemed. You have been washed white as snow. Your sins will be removed as far as the east is from the west. You will have been bought by the blood of the Lamb!

Have you taken the action needed to be redeemed?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Why do You still love us?

September 23, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him,”
(Job 7:17 (ESV))

It is often said that the Bible is actually God’s love letter to His creation.

Is that how you see it?

It sounds like Job saw it this way. He knew that the Lord loves those who love Him. He knew that God wants people to come to Him of their own free will. He knew that God desires nothing more than a personal relationship with each and every person who has ever or will ever walk this earth. From this passage, it is clear that Job was amazed that God cared so much for His creation. To be honest with you, God created everything from the planets and the stars to the microscopic single cell animals and plants. In all of this vast creation, man is the greatest love of God’s. Everything that He has done or ever will do is for His creation.

I have often stated that I love to read and compare various translations, for the subtleties truly bring things to life. The Complete Jewish Bible translates this passage in this manner.

“What are mere mortals, that you make so much of them? Why do you keep them on your mind?”
(Job 7:17 (CJB))

We are told that where our treasure is there our heart will be also. We are also told that what we think about is what we treasure. In reading these two translations, we are clearly told that we are in God’s heart and on His mind. We are His treasure!

With all that humanity has done, God still loves us.

With all the rebellion that is in our hearts, God still loves us.

In fact, He loves us so much that He devised a plan to bring us to redemption.

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))

All that we have to do is accept this amazing grace for ourselves!

We know that God’s ways are far above our ways, yet, I often wonder what motivates God to do such an amazing thing for us even when we don’t deserve it.

Why do You still love us?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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And His name is Jesus!

August 26, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Lord has made his salvation known
     and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
(Psalms 98:2 (NIV))

If you haven’t noticed, the last several devotionals have all been about passages from Psalms. I have a Bible app on my ipad and I have read multiple different translations. Currently, I am reading through the English translation called the Complete Jewish Bible where I am in Psalms. I cross reference between multiple different translations as I go, and as a result, I have come to a much deeper appreciation of these passages. I have found that my eyes have been opened by reading these different translations. I have alluded to this before, but sometimes the choice of words that the translators use can shed a completely different light on a passage. It can provide a much deeper understanding.

When this passage was written, it was long before Jesus walked the earth, yet, people were prophesying that He would come. No matter what translation you read, this passage clearly points to God’s amazing grace and mercy.

Adonai has made known his victory;
revealed his vindication in full view of the nations,
(Psalms 98:2 (CJB))

I love the way that the CJB translated this passage. Victory is the Lord’s! Vindication is the Lord’s!

If you look up the word “vindication,” it means justification against denial. Satan thought that he had won when he tricked Adam and Eve in the Garden, but God’s salvation, God’s victory is through the atoning blood of Jesus. God’s vindication, God’s righteousness is revealed through the resurrection of Jesus! In other words, God will not deny humanity the option to return to Him in a relationship as it was before the fall from grace. He will be vindicated and Satan has been defeated. All that we have to do is claim that victory for ourselves. Don’t wait another moment. If you have not already made this claim for yourself, it is a simple profession of faith. It is 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.

This victory, this vindication, this salvation that returns us to His righteousness all came about because of God’s plan through one who is fully God and is fully man!

And His name is Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What will you gain when you die?

August 19, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

I haven’t written about this passage much before, but today I was going through my files and this particular passage and devotional caught my attention. I found myself reading it and I believe that someone needs to hear this at this point in their life.

I want you to carefully reread these words from this passage. Do they have a sound that is contrary to what we, as a society, tend to think about this world, life and “religion?”

Most people think of Jesus as a safety net for when we die, not as a way in which we can live in freedom.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

We are told that Jesus gives us life to the full, yet, we ignore Him until we face dying. Isn’t it just like human nature to have our priorities turned around. We look to the promise of life when we are dying and look to sin and death when we are alive. For those who understand the truth behind these words, life is better with Jesus. There is hope. There is peace and there is grace.

Without Jesus, death is to be feared. We end up eternally separated from God and eternally cast away with Satan. With Jesus, death is not to be feared, for we will see the reward for our faith. We will walk with Jesus in the Kingdom of Heaven where we will be eternally at peace and in God’s presence. When we look at it like this, death for a believer is gain. It is not to be feared. It is a reward for our faith and our priorities in this life. We have all heard that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. If we are present with the Lord at our death, then we have “gained” eternal life through grace and mercy. This is truly gain.

What will you gain when you die?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Call upon the name of the Lord and be saved!

August 17, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And everyone who calls
     on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
(Acts 2:21 (NIV))

As believers, we love this passage for it means so much to our faith, but have you truly stopped to look at this passage in its complete context?

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
“‘In the last days, God says,
     I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
     your young men will see visions,
     your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
     I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
     and they will prophesy.
I will show wonders in the heavens above
     and signs on the earth below,
     blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
     and the moon to blood
     before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
     on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
(Acts 2:14-21 (NIV))

It is the closing remark that Peter referenced from Joel. It defines a time that has not come yet, but may be drawing closer than anyone knows. The last days are clearly defined as terrible times and we truly understand that calling on the name of the Lord will save us.

But, . . .

We don’t have to wait until the last days to call on the name of the Lord!

Don’t wait! Tomorrow may be too late, for none of us are promised tomorrow. It is better to trust in the saving grace of the Lord before you face troubles, for you may not survive the troubles. You may not have a chance to make that profession of faith by calling upon His name as your Lord and Savior. Life is precious, yet it can end in an instant. It can end before you have a chance to even think the words.

I realize that most people who read these devotionals have already accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Please excuse me while I address those who have not yet made that profession of faith.

Are you willing to gamble all of eternity on your ability to perfectly time you profession of faith in the last seconds of your life? I am not trying to be macabre, but there are numerous ways that this life can end before you can even process a single thought. Don’t delay in accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

Call upon the name of the Lord and be saved!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t be a fool!

July 25, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

Is it just me, or do you think that we are seeing an overabundance of fools in the world right now?

Based on God’s definition from this passage, there are far too many fools in the world and they just seem to be increasing in numbers daily! Is it possible to equate God’s definition of a fool and the concept that evil will increase in the last days? We know that the wheat and the weeds will grow up evenly during these times. Are we seeing a growth spurt of weeds right in front of our eyes?

Every person who has ever lived has had a choice to make. Adam and Eve believed a lie from the serpent and fell from grace. They made the wrong choice. Cain and Abel had a choice to make. Cain made the wrong choice. All of the people alive except Noah and his family made the wrong choice. I could go on and on with example after example of how fallen humanity has constantly made the wrong choice.

Even after God sent His Son Jesus to redeem us from our sin, people still make the wrong choice!

I can’t stress this enough. Every single one of us has a choice to make. We can accept God’s grace as freely given through the gift of His Son Jesus or we can reject that gift. There are many reasons why people reject God’s grace. Some believe one of many lies from the enemy such as God won’t save them or that they have plenty of time to accept Jesus. These are the people that have a misunderstanding about God. It is a slippery slope from there to denying God. Sadly, many will fall into the group that God calls foolish.

Do you know anyone in this category?

Are you in this category?

What do you think of Jesus and the cross?

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
(1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV))

If you look at the passages that talk about being a fool or being foolish, they reference a hardened heart that rejects God and/or His plan of salvation through Jesus.

Don’t be a fool!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What sustains you in your hunger?

July 13, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
(Matthew 4:4 (NIV))

People are hungry!

People are starving for the grace and truth that can only be found in God, and the sad part is that they don’t realize it. They try to satisfy their hunger with anything and everything that catches their attention, while ignoring the only thing that can truly satisfy their longings. It is said that we have a God-shaped hole within us and I honestly believe that to be true. We try to fill this hole, this void, with anything and with everything that we can possibly imagine. Some turn to alcohol. Some turn to drugs. Others turn to money, and still others will turn to the lusts of the flesh. Nothing that this world can offer can fill this void. Nothing that this world can offer can satisfy this hunger.

Jesus came into this world to save us from our sins. He came into this world to satisfy our hunger.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
(John 6:35 (NIV))

Jesus satisfies our hunger. Jesus satisfies our soul. Jesus fills the God-shaped hole within each of us.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:1-5 (NIV))

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us
(John 1:14a (NIV))

I love how God does things. Jesus is the Bread of Life. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which means house of bread. Jesus, the Bread of Life, was born in the house of bread. This sheds light on the Passover Seder when Jesus broke the bread and told His disciples to take and eat, for it is His body. It can’t get any clearer than that. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, and by doing this, He satisfies the hunger within us.

What sustains you in your hunger?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you look forward to this day?

July 1, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name.
(Zechariah 14:9 (NIV))

Even in the days of Zechariah, God let it be known that one day His plan would come to fruition and He would restore His order to His creation. Everything that has come about in the unveiling of history has proven that God keeps His promises. Every event in the history of the world that has had a significant impact in the events of society had been prophesied hundreds of years before it came to pass.

One of these days, the words spoken of in Zechariah will also come to pass and then we will be able to see God in a creation that He intended before man suffered the fate of the fall from grace. What a glorious day that will be. It will also be a sad day for those who do not know the grace and mercy that God has freely given through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. It is a shame that too many people will see this event as a sad day of punishment instead of a glorious day of salvation. We must tell all that we see of the grace that is freely theirs if they will only receive it. Only by accepting Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior will they see these events as a glorious day of salvation.

How do you see the words of Zechariah?

Do you look forward to this day?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Why are you still carrying your burdens?

June 27, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
(1 Peter 5:7 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. If there is one thing that this sinful, fallen world is good at, it is good at creating anxiety in those who call this world home. Professing a faith in Jesus does not mean that the world will not do all within its power to burden you and to give you stress, it just means that we have an assurance that the anxiety that we feel can be lifted, that it can be carried by the One who created this world. And, no, He did not create it in it’s current state. This world was created as perfection. It is we who have turned it into the mess that it has become.

For the second time in as many days, I find myself singing the refrain from a hymn that says it better than anything I have ever heard or could possibly ever write.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace
(Helen Howarth Lemmel)

When we cast all of our anxiety upon Jesus, this is exactly what happens!

The key word in that last sentence is “when,” for we have a tendency to hold onto our burdens and our anxieties far too long. We let them weigh us down. We let them control us. We let them drag us deeper into the very thing that we are burdened with. We don’t have to be burdened. We don’t have to carry anxiety. We don’t have to live according to the world. We have a risen Savior who has defeated the world and has willingly taken our sins, our burdens and our anxieties upon Himself. All that we have to do is surrender them up to Him.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

Why are you still carrying your burdens?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is God’s grace sufficient for you?

May 25, 2022

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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))

Is His grace sufficient for you?

I don’t know anyone who actually likes to admit that they are weak. It goes against everything in our human nature, but that is exactly what we are called to do. In our sinful, fallen nature, we like to elevate ourselves. We like to make it look like we have it all under control. We like to think that we are the captains of our own destiny and that we are in complete control of everything.

In other words, we like to toot our own horn!

Paul had a different opinion.

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
(2 Corinthians 12:9b (NIV))

Based on Paul’s status in Jewish society, he probably had tooted his own horn many times. He was a Pharisee and was well on his way to high position, prestige and authority, but his Damascus Road experience changed all of that. He realized that his understanding was wrong. He realized that his studies had taken him down the wrong path. He realized that it wasn’t about his strength, but that it was about the strength of the one who was in him.

Paul realized that he needed to submit to the authority that was far greater than he. He realized that he needed to humble himself. He realized that he needed to become weak in the eyes of the world so that the Lord could become his strength.

Is God’s grace sufficient for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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