Humility is the first step!

January 27, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
(James 4:10 (NKJV))

God knows sinful human nature far too well.

I believe that the hardest thing for anyone to be is humble. Ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, it is simply just not in our nature. In fact, the fall was because we were not able to be humble when we were told that we could be just like God. Satan dangled the carrot, or should I say the knowledge of good and evil, and we took the bait. If Adam and Eve had simply realized that they were the creation and that they were not, nor could they be God, then things would have happened so much differently than we have been told in God’s Word. Instead of being humble, Adam and Eve let pride take control and that got them cast away from God’s presence.

If that is the case, doesn’t it make perfect sense that if we are able to be humble, then that could be reversed?

It takes humility to admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior! It takes humility to admit that you are not capable of being God, and it takes humility to admit that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. When you are capable of humbling yourself before God, He reverses what sin caused and He lifts you up into a relationship with Him, just like the relationship He had with Adam and Eve before the fall.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:10 (NIV))

The English Standard Version translates that last part as “he will exalt you.” According to Merriam-Webster, when you are exalted, you are raised in rank, power, or character. You are elevated by praise or in esteem. Humanity was created to walk in fellowship with God. If you reflect on the Garden of Eden, it was not an angel who walked with them. It was God! Even the angels did not get this designation, this familial calling. If you humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, you will be exalted, you will be restored to God’s original plan. You will no longer be cast away because of your sin. In much the same way that the father embraced the prodigal son, our Father in heaven longs to embrace each of us when we humble return to Him!

Humility is the first step!

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How are you at treating each other with love?

January 20, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
(Matthew 7:12 (NIV))

Do you like it when others mistreat you?

I realize that this question is one that appears to have an obvious answer, still we often treat others in ways that we would never want to be treated ourselves. I believe that this is rooted in the fall from grace. Humanity was lied to and told that we could be like God, so now we apply the power without the compassion. We apply the authority without the understanding, and we provide the condemnation without the love. Human nature wants to do exactly the opposite of what God calls us to do. We have a tendency to place ourselves above everyone else, and because of this, we mistreat each other because we think that we are better than they are.

Wrong attitude!

We are no better than anyone else.

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

No matter what you may think of yourself, God sees the real you. He knows all of your sinful past, yet He loves you anyway. When He looks at humanity, He sees a sea of sinful, fallen people who all need a savior. He does not see certain people as better than others. He doesn’t treat anyone differently. What He does do is provide an opportunity of redemption to all who will simply profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Once this happens, He sees you as a redeemed child, but that redemption is nothing that should make us feel superior to anyone else. All that it means is in the sea of sinful, drowning people, we have gotten on the life boat. We should be reaching out to others offering to help them receive what we have received. We must show them the same compassion, understanding and love that we were shown as we found our salvation.

I want to challenge you to look at your actions during the next twenty-four hours. Pray to have your eyes opened to the instances where you treat others in a way that you would not want to be treated. Pray to be able to show God’s love in those situations instead of your shortcomings. I want you to also pray for those who mistreat you, for they may not realize what they do. It is said that it is hard to hate someone when you are praying for them. I think that we can also safely say that it is hard to mistreat someone when you are praying for them.

How are you at treating each other with love?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Why do we think we have it under control?

January 12, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
     and lean not on your own understanding;
(Proverbs 3:5 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes us think that we are smart enough to be the masters of our own fate? Why do we think that we can control anything in our lives when we can’t even control the events of a single day?

If you stop and analyze the fall from grace, it was a sin of pride. Humanity was tricked into wanting to be just like God, and as a result, all of human history has been about our feeble attempts to be our own gods, to be in control. We like the self-made man concept. We like the long shot. We like the one who bucks the status quo and does it there way. In fact, there was a very popular song titled “I Did it My Way!”

If you look at the history of humanity since the fall from grace, it has been a shambles. One person wants to be in control and the next thing we have is conflict due to the fact that what one person wants is not what another person wants. Everyone trusts only in themselves! Everyone is only looking out for the best interests of numero uno, number one, themselves.

Can you tell with one hundred percent certainty what a day will bring?

Can you tell with one hundred percent certainty that you will even live one more day?

If we are not capable of answering yes to these two questions, why do we only put stock in our own understanding? Why do we only trust in ourselves?

Take a look back on your life. We all have times where we feel that we are facing stress, and there are also times when we feel that we have a glimpse of peace. These is a very good probability that stress far outweighs any peace that you may have had due to your own endeavors. I have found that even in the midst of stress all that I need to do is turn it over to the Lord in prayer. I have found that He is so much better at being God than I am or could ever be.

To put it simply, let go and let God . . .

Why do we think we have it under control?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Did you experience the real Jesus this Christmas?

December 28, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (ESV))

We just celebrated Christmas, but how many people actually celebrated the birth of Jesus?

Too many people simply go through the motions where they partake only of society’s consumer driven spending frenzy. They buy gifts for each other, but fail to realize why this tradition started. They fail to recognize the true reason for the season and the greatest gift that was ever given.

It all started with God’s perfect plan of redemption! We couldn’t save ourselves from the consequences of the fall from grace. We inherited our sinful nature. We we helpless, hopeless and lost in a sinful, dying world, and God knew it.

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

Jesus stepped out of heaven to be born and live as one of us. He came to live the perfect, sinless life that we could never live. He came to offer His life of righteousness for our lives of sinfulness. He gave each of us the opportunity to receive the greatest gift of all, and all that we have to do is accept that gift.

That gift is priceless!

That gift is beyond measure!

That gift is eternal life through His righteousness!

That is the real reason for our Christmas celebrations!

That is the best gift that we can receive until we are able to see Jesus face to face.

We must look beyond the boxes, beyond the lights, and beyond the celebrations to experience the real reason for the season. We must long to experience Jesus not only on Christmas day, but on every day of our lives.

Did you experience the real Jesus this Christmas?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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It is a bed fit for a king!

December 22, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
(Luke 2:7 (ESV))

Everyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior knows the story of His lowly birth.

To be honest with you, I am still amazed that He stepped out of heaven to become one of us. How many kings would give up their throne? How many kings would exchange places with the least of their kingdom? How many kings would willingly walk among their people as one of them, only to willingly die so that their people might live?

God’s gift of grace is amazing. It is beyond comprehension, yet, it still happened. It all began with a single birth that the world didn’t even notice, and today, over two thousand years since that birth, that single birth has been used to divide time. It has been used to bring grace and salvation. It has also been used to bring division between those who do not believe and those who do.

Never before or since has a single birth been so crucial to all of humanity!

To those who profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I want to take a moment and wish you a Merry Christmas, for His birth was the beginning of God’s plan to bring about salvation. It is when our Lord stepped out of heaven and went to sleep as a baby in a manger. No bed has ever performed such an important role, for this feeding trough, this manger, became the bed for the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

Have you ever thought of the manger in this manner? Have you ever given thought to how a lowly animal feeding trough became the symbol of the birth of Jesus? The manger now symbolizes new beginnings. It symbolizes grace and mercy. More importantly, it symbolizes God’s love for us.

It is a bed fit for a king!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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It is time to join the celebration and have a Merry Christmas!

December 20, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

There will never be a greater gift that can be given!

To those who have accepted this gift of grace, we use this passage to convey exactly what God has done. We use it to explain to others what can be theirs if they will only accept. We use it to explain the magnitude of God’s love for His creation, but, I think that we use it to remind ourselves of the mercy that we have been given. We use it to remind ourselves that we were all sinners in need of a Savior. We us it to remind ourselves that we were helpless, hopeless and lost as a result of our sin. We use it to remind ourselves that we are not worthy to receive such a great gift, but, God gave it to us in spite of ourselves.

In just a few days, we will celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. We will celebrate Jesus stepping out of eternity and into this world so that we could be ransomed by His great love. For those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, you truly have something to celebrate. Do you need to join the celebration? For those who have not made that profession of faith as of yet, 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.

The greatest gift of all time is yours. All that you must do is accept.

I have referred to this before. The word “merry” in Old English means “mighty.” The word Christmas is a shortened version of two words “Christ Mass” in which the birth of Jesus was officially celebrated by the church. People would wish each other a blessing so that they would have a MIGHTY (Merry) Christ’s Mass (Christmas). They wanted each believer to fully realize the gift of grace and mercy that was theirs because God sent His Son Jesus into this world.

It is time to join the celebration and have a Merry Christmas!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Jesus is the Word made flesh!

December 14, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
(Isaiah 55:11 (NIV))

I have read this passage numerous times, but tonight I was given insight that made me stop as I fully realized the implications of these words! It became more than clear to me when I was directed to this passage about Jesus. In fact, what made me take notice of this passage from Isaiah was that it does not say So shall My words. It is singular just as it is in identifying Jesus.

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 was sent forth to accomplish God’s will and He did not return void. He accomplished what pleased the Father. Salvation is the thing for which Jesus was sent, and He prospered in fulfilling the Father’s desires by providing salvation to a sinful, fallen world! All that we have to do is accept what the Father has provided.

I love how God’s Word comes to life! The more that you read and study, the more that you see Jesus even in passages where you may not have seen Him before. As your desire to understand increases, He gives you more understanding. He unfolds His truth to those who earnestly seek Him. I don’t know how many times that I have read a passage and then the very next time that I read it, I am given new insight. I am given new understanding.

Do you hunger and thirst for the truth of His Word? Do you hunger and thirst for Jesus? Do you bury yourself in His Word in order to know the very heart of God?

God showed us His heart when He sent Jesus. We are told that where your treasure is there your heart will be also. God treasures His creation. He treasures us so much that He sent His Son, whom He loves. Jesus was and is the Word made flesh. Jesus fulfilled everything written in Isaiah.

God’s Word is still going forth. Jesus is still accomplishing what the Father pleases. Jesus is still increasing the numbers who have accepted this gift of salvation.

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))

Jesus is the Word made flesh!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you humble yourself and bow to the Lord?

December 2, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
(Psalms 138:2 (NIV))

Awe and reverence!

Two characteristics that clearly manifest themselves in people who truly understand God’s power, majesty, grace, mercy and love. How can anyone who truly understands these godly traits do anything except bow down and praise God for what He has done?

No one else is capable of doing what God has done. Only God could have offered us grace and mercy that is eternal. Only God could have sent His Son to be an atoning sacrifice for our iniquities.

We did not ask Him to do it. He volunteered to do it because of His great love for us! How can we do any less that bow down and praise Him for what He has done, after all, He did not have to do any of it, for He is God. No one forces Him to do anything. No one can ever say that God has done something that goes against His very nature. If God cannot do anything that goes against His nature and He sent us Jesus to be our atoning sacrifice for our sins, then we have a Creator who truly loves us in spite of ourselves.

Have you bowed down in reverence and respect before God lately? Have you praised God for all that He has done for you? Have you actually thought about the grace and mercy that was freely given to you at the cost of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ?

Do you humble yourself and bow to the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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We must occupy until He returns!

October 11, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’
(Luke 19:13 (ESV))

Engage in business until I come!

If you read this parable and miss that the master is Jesus, then engage in business means just that. However, if you make the connection that Jesus is telling His disciples that He will be leaving, then you understand that engaging in His business is telling the world about the grace and mercy that is only found through Himself. Another translation puts it this way.

And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
(Luke 19:13 (KJV))

As followers of Jesus, we are to occupy until He comes. This translation brings to the table a different, more emphatic instruction set for those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. We are to occupy this world. When I read this translation, my mind automatically thinks of an occupying army. They do what they are commanded and do not fear the consequences, for they have an authority that is not native to the land that they answer to. They are to carry out the instructions that they have been given. As the Body of Christ, we have been given instructions that we are to perform until His return.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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 28:18-20 (NIV))

The church, the Body of Christ, is an occupying army. We are instructed to take captive those who are currently not following Jesus. We are instructed to share the Gospel of salvation with a sinful and dying world. We are to rebuke the enemy. We are instructed to bind the power of the enemy and to show people how they can break the chains of bondage to sin.

The translations that refer to engaging in business don’t paint the complete picture in my mind. Most people think of buying and selling and making a profit when you mention business. I am not capable of reading this passage in the original language, so I have to rely on the people who have performed the translations. Word choice can make a big difference. I know that it does for me.

What about you?

What translation conveys this passage in the best way, the most understandable way, for you?

No matter which translation you choose, we are called to be doing the work that Jesus instructed us to do until He returns. Many people, myself included, believe that recent world events indicate that the time of the end is rapidly approaching. We are called to be His light in a dark and dying world. We are called to share the Gospel into the lives of sinners in need of a Savior. We are called to be about His business!

Are you performing the duties that we have been given?

We must occupy until He returns!

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