Does pride get in your way?

October 15, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

By the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
(Romans 12:3 (NIV))

It is easy to have an inflated opinion of your self-worth, especially when you listen to yourself and ignore what God is telling you. We see our own “achievements” and we know what it has taken to accomplish them. We see other people who are at different levels within what God has called them to achieve, and we judge their calling and their achievements.

What we fail to realize is that what we are currently experiencing may be the only thing that God has called us to and that what we see of others is only the tip of the iceberg. We do not know what God has in store for us or for others. We do not truly know what God has in store for us. Do you recall what you were doing ten years ago? Put yourself into that situation once again. Now take a look at your current situation with a ten year perspective. Are you doing what you thought you would be doing?

Our self-esteem, or should I say ego, has a tendency to get in our way, especially when it comes to seeing the big picture and God’s plan for all of us. We tend to over emphasize our role and downplay the roles of others. This starts to sound like one of the sins that we are supposed to avoid in our life – the sin of pride.

How do you think of yourself? Do you inflate your importance or do you accept your current situation as something that is temporary and in God’s hands?

Does pride get in your way?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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He will not forsake you.

August 9, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When you pass through the waters,
  I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
  they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
  you will not be burned;
  the flames will not set you ablaze.
(Isaiah 43:2 (NIV))

All that I can say is thank you, Lord, for your great grace, mercy and love!

We may never actually pass through the waters or walk through the fire, but we can rest assured that no matter what we may face, the Lord is with us. If we do face the waters or the fire, we have the assurance that He is walking with us, guiding us and protecting us because we are His children!

For years I have had what Paul simply described as a thorn in his flesh. He never gave us more details, but we know that he suffered from some health problems that he prayed to be taken from him. We know how God answered that prayer.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
‭‭(2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭(NIV‬‬))

Can we boldly proclaim that His grace is sufficient for us?

Can we allow the Lord’s power to be made perfect in our weakness?

Can we boast about our weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on us?

As I sit here at 3 AM on a Sunday morning because of the fact that the thorn in my flesh has raised its ugly head, I rejoice in the quiet. I rejoice that it has allowed me to be still in His presence. I rejoice because it has allowed me another uninterrupted time to know Him.

Be still and know that I am God,
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

I rejoice because once again His grace is sufficient!

Each of us face trials in our lives that potentially have the ability to do us harm. Don’t lose hope! Don’t lose faith! He is still with you. He will not forsake you.

Good night!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you confident in your faith?

May 25, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:16 (ESV))

How confident are you of your salvation?

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Such confidence we have through Christ before God.
(2 Corinthians 3:4 (NIV))

The early church leaders knew that we should be confident in our faith. Those who wrote these words had either seen Jesus or they knew those who had witnessed the events that we now cling to as strategic moments of faith. They had witnessed the miracles and were confident in what they saw. They had witnessed the severity of the scourging and the crucifixion and were then completely overwhelmed by the resurrection! They had witnessed the ascension and were given the promise that He would return the same way He left.

Think about that for a moment.

If you had witnessed someone beaten so badly that he was not identifiable after the beating and then they were killed by crucifixion, how confident would you be that the person was dead? If you heard that he was buried, yet was alive again, would you question your confidence in what you had witnessed? What if you met that person and he spoke to you about the things that you had done together, would you be confident that it was the same person? What if that person showed you the scars? How confident would you be that this person had died, was buried and then rose again? If you had witnessed these things first hand, you would not be able to keep quiet about what you saw and what you know. You would proclaim it with complete confidence.

That is exactly what the disciples and the early church leaders did! They were so full of confidence that they told everyone the good news of Jesus.

Sometimes I think that we, as the modern church, have lost our confidence. We read the words and we watch reenactments, but do we truly comprehend what happened? If we did, I feel that we would be doing what the disciples and the early church leaders were doing. We would be telling everyone about Jesus. I feel that we couldn’t be made to be quiet. Even the threat of persecution or death would not detract from what we boldly and confidently proclaimed.

Take a serious look at your faith. Do you believe without any doubt? Do you fully understand what you profess to believe?

Are you confident in your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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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 keeping His commands?

April 19, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If you love me, keep my commands.
(John 14:15 (NIV))

Is it just me, or are the last three words extremely difficult to achieve?

If you truly profess a faith in Jesus, then you should truly love Jesus for who He is and for what He has done, but human nature always creeps into the picture!

Ever since the fall from grace, human nature has been incapable of perfectly following God’s instructions. We always miss the mark. We always sin. Even after the grace and mercy freely given to us at the cross, we are incapable of perfectly following God’s instructions. But, if you truly stop to think about this, that is exactly why we were given the gift of grace and mercy. Even after acknowledging our sinful nature, we still sin. Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior does not make you perfect on your own merit. It makes you perfect because you have exchanged your imperfections and sin for His perfection and righteousness in the eyes of God.

What does change is the desire to keep His commands!

What does change is the understanding that you will constantly fail.

What does change is your realization that He died to save you from the consequences of your sins.

What does change is your sinful, selfish attitude to a thankful, loving attitude.

What does change is your desire to strive to follow Him in all that you do.

Keeping His commands is not easy. If it were easy, Jesus would not have come into this world to die for our sins. What is easier is repenting when we fall short. What is easier is having a thankful heart for His grace and mercy. As I stated, keeping His commands is not easy, but striving to follow Jesus is the ultimate sign of your love for Him.

Are you keeping His commands?

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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Are you hearing groans?

March 10, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.
(Proverbs 29:2 (NIV))

Sadly, people have been groaning ever since the fall from grace!

There are many times throughout history where the wicked have ruled. It is not difficult to identify many of these. Each continent has had their share of wicked rulers. Some are currently groaning under the weight of oppression. If you stop to honestly think about it, God’s Word has many examples of wicked kingdoms from the past. We are even given a very detailed picture of many of them from the stories of the Tower of Babel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace, Daniel in the lion’s den, the Roman occupation of Jerusalem and all of Israel, and the crucifixion of Jesus at the hands of the Romans.

We are also told of a time when wickedness will rule the whole world. When good is called evil and evil is called good. The whole world will be groaning in anguish during this seven year period of tribulation. With what is going on in the whole world at this moment and what is currently happening in this country, many people are in anguish. They are groaning because of what they see currently and what they see as the next logical step as it leads down a path from which many feel there is no return to what we now long for as normal.

Privacy is going.

You have to think a certain way. Anything different is vilified.

Sin is embraced and righteousness is ridiculed.

There is talk in many countries and regions in this world of having to have a vaccine passport in order to take part in society. Some places are even going so far as to hint at requiring this to even go to work, or to buy and sell basic commodities such as food. This is rapidly looking like it could evolve into what the Body of Christ refers to as the mark of the beast.

It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.
(Revelation 13:16-17 (NIV))

There is a time rapidly approaching when the father of lies will have his way with the whole world. Does this make you groan? I know that this is all part of God’s plan, but it still makes me groan deep in my spirit. I ache for those who have not come to a saving knowledge given to all through the atoning blood of Jesus. I can only imagine that if this makes my spirit groan, what is it doing to 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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

If you are hearing groans or are groaning yourself, imagine what this is doing to the very heart of God!

Are you hearing groans?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is God to you?

December 17, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?
(Psalms 8:3-4 (NIV))

How many times have you read or heard this passage?

If you are like me, you have had numerous encounters with this verse, but have you ever considered that this passage written by David is a perfect lead-in to God’s plan of salvation? David asked and God answered by providing grace and mercy.

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))

Isn’t that what Christmas is about?

Humanity is a sinful, fallen creation that had no hope of redemption or grace! God had other plans. He had promised that salvation would come through the lineage of David. What we celebrate at Christmas is the fulfillment of this promise. What we celebrate is the fulfillment of hope. What we celebrate is the arrival of grace!

Consider David’s words. He asked God what we are to Him and He showed us!

The problem is that we are too arrogant and prideful to accept what we have been shown. We need to become more like David, who humbled himself enough to ask. Once we humble ourselves, God will show us more than we can imagine. He will give us more than we can comprehend. When we are able to truly humble ourselves, the true meaning of Christmas becomes obvious. We were lost and in need of a Savior. Because of God’s great love for us, He gave us salvation through Jesus.

We know what we are to God. What is God to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Through the eyes of a little child!

December 15, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all–he is the greatest.”
(Luke 9:48 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times and tonight it hit me in a way that I had not thought of before. Perhaps it is the time of year with Christmas very close, but something made me look at this in a different light.

I know that many Christians have trouble with the idea of Santa Claus, but if you consider the roots of this “person,” you come away with a different perspective. Nicholas was a 4th century Christian who was known for helping children. He is also known for other things, but his love and help of children has gained him much notoriety. There are various different stories about Nicholas, but the one thing that stands out is how he used his love for Jesus to reach out to the little children.

Perhaps our understanding of Santa Claus could use a true historical perspective based on church history and not on what society has made him. Perhaps our understanding of many things could use a true historical perspective based on church history.

Could you imagine a Christmas not tied up in gifts and decorations, but in the grace and mercy that God gave us through the manger? Could you imagine a Christmas based on the greatest gift of all times instead of the “perfect gift” that will be obsolete in a short time?

Nicholas came to mind because of his ministry to children. Jesus told us that we are to be as little children. We need to look at His love without the sins of the world trying to cling to everything and distort the truth about the greatest gift that humanity could ever be given.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
(Romans 3:23 (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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Perhaps we need to look at the gift of Christmas through the eyes of a little child once again!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you gotten lost on a detour?

December 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

According to the world, there are many different ways to get to heaven.

What do you believe? What do you know to be the truth? Do you believe that they are the same thing?

Each religion in the world professes that they have the only path to get to god. You will notice that I chose to use a little “g,” for the gods that they claim to be able to reach are not the God of the universe. Each religion sets out a path that you must follow to achieve a higher level. Everything that they claim gets you closer to their god is something that you must do, but our God, the God of the universe did something to reach us!

He sent His Word! He sent His only begotten Son.

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))

Jesus came to shine the light!

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

Jesus came as one of us, a living man of flesh. We can never be good enough. We can never earn our way to God. Because of this, God came to us! Jesus was sent by God, as God made man, to bring us back to Himself.

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))

The world tells us that we have to get better in order to see God. God tells us that He is better than the world. He has reached out to us to share His goodness, righteousness, mercy and grace. Personally, I know that I am not capable of anything on my own. I was drowning in a sea of sin. God reached out and rescued me. I didn’t have to rescue myself. Grace was and forever will be a gift. All that you have to do is accept it. If you are required to do something of your own strength, then you are on the wrong path.

Have you gotten lost on a detour?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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