Are you following God’s will?

July 13, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV))

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I pray that it is your heart’s desire to be in God’s Will for your life. If you are like me, you desire to be in God’s Will in all aspects of your life, but it isn’t always easy. We are still humans and are bound by much more than we care to admit. Even though we profess a faith in Jesus, we still cling to our sinful nature even when we want to leave it all behind. The Lord knows that we have trouble with ten things that we are asked to obey. Perhaps this is why we are given three simple things to do.

Rejoice always!

We are to be thankful for the grace that has been freely given to us. We must remember that no matter what our circumstances, God’s grace is still there for us. We must rejoice when things are going well and we must rejoice when things are not going so well, for our circumstances are temporary. Grace is eternal. For this reason, we must rejoice in all things!

Pray continually!

Prayer in communication with God. We must learn to seek Him and hear Him in all things. When we are sad. When we are mad. When we are happy. When we feel all alone and scared. God is there to guide us and to comfort us. This only happens when we are truly in a relationship with the Lord and not just an “I need something, God” type of attitude.

Give thanks in all circumstances!

Are you able to be thankful for hardship? Most people only give thanks when something truly good happens in their lives. I want to propose that there is a reason that this is the last of the three things that we are called to do. If we learn how to rejoice always and then learn how to pray continually, giving thanks will come easier. We will have already cultivated the proper attitude. We will have already learned to rejoice in all things. We will have learned to pray in all things. The next logical step is to give thanks in all things. It makes sense to me that this is the last thing that truly proves that you love the Lord.

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

Are you following God’s will?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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If you believe, tell someone!

July 8, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
(Romans 10:10 (NIV))

If you had invented something that would truly benefit every single person who ever lived, would you keep it bottled up inside and never share it with anyone? You would shout it from the mountain tops. You would be so full of enthusiastic energy that everyone you meet would be told about your invention and how much that they need it. That is human nature. If you ignore the sinful nature of human pride, most of us would still share this kind of situation just because we want others to be as happy and fulfilled as we are. We have a tendency to want to share good news with anyone and everyone who will listen.

Why are so many of us afraid to share our faith with others?

Think about that in context of the previous questions. Jesus is far greater than anything else that we could ever share, yet, most of us don’t share our faith at all. We claim that it is a personal matter. We claim that we believe, yet we aren’t willing to tell anyone what we believe or why we believe it.

We aren’t willing to profess with our mouths!

If you are reading this, I can probably make the safe assumption that you believe in Jesus in your heart. That is fantastic, but have you told your friends? Have you told your family? Have you told those you work with? Have you verbally pronounced that you have placed your faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? Think about your answer in context with the last half of Romans 10:10. Have you fulfilled this part of your salvation? Have you made a public proclamation?

If you have good news, it is human nature to want to share it. What better news is there than this?

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))

I can’t think of better news that the whole world needs to hear!

If you believe, tell someone!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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You will never find greater riches than this!

April 24, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
(Ephesians 1:7 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of riches?

Is it the typical human nature responses such as money, big house, fancy cars and expensive toys?

Let me ask this another way.

What is it that you value the most?

Did you answer family and friends? Perhaps you thought of the gift of life itself. These are valuable to most people, yet, there is something that has far greater worth. It is of far greater worth than all of the riches of the world.

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
(Mark 8:36 (NIV))

Everything in this life is here today and gone tomorrow. With that said, how can we place value on something that does not last? How can we spend our lives striving for something that can be taken from us in the blink of an eye?

We are trapped in a world of sin and death. A world that we allowed to fall away from God. It is a world badly in need of something that is eternal, something that will not rust or decay with time. That something is God’s grace.

I know of nothing in this world that can bring eternal life, even though man has searched for just such a thing for a long time. I know of nothing in this world that can bring peace, even though we all long for it. I know of nothing in this world that can bring everlasting joy, even though there are things that bring us fleeting glimpses of joy. Nothing in this world can redeem us. Nothing in this world can provide forgiveness, and nothing in this world can give us grace.

With that said, the greatest riches of all is the very thing that can bring all of this. It is not of this world, for this world is fallen. It is from the very One who created this world. It is designed to bring each and every one of us back into the pre-sin relationship that we were supposed to have with God.

Let me ask a few more questions.

Does money make you happy? Do big houses make you happy? Do expensive toys make you happy? All of these things soon become the reason for living and then you discover that they leave you cold and empty. Only one thing can leave you joyfully filled and warm with the love of God.

Have you accepted the riches that God offers through His glorious gift of grace? Have you accepted the gift of salvation that was purchased at the cross by Jesus?

You will never find greater riches than this!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you childlike in your faith?

January 17, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
(Matthew 18:2-3 (NIV))

I pray that you have little children in your life!

There is something special about the innocence of a little child. Their smile is infectious. The sparkle in their eyes is so joyous. Their laugh is genuine. Their love is unconditional. Their trust has not been broken by the world, and their faith is still strong! They haven’t been tricked by the world or by the enemy which means that they have not grown callous and hard hearted. They have not been beaten down by the weight of sin.

No wonder Jesus said that we need to become like little children.

Think back on your childhood. Hopefully your childhood was wonderful. You probably didn’t have a care in the world. You trusted that all of your needs would be met and you spent your time being happy and filled with joy. You knew that you were loved and you knew just how to ask for the things that you needed, and probably the things that you wanted as well. You possessed a faith in the family and friends who were your whole world. They sheltered you from the evils of the world that you didn’t even know about. We should be just like this in our faith in the Lord. Can we say that we are filled with joy? Can we say that we love unconditionally? Can we say that we trust? Can we say that we are sheltered? It is my prayer to be childlike in my faith.

Are you childlike in your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have a happy and Spirit filled new year!

January 1, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
(Matthew 9:16-17 (NIV))

How do you plan on going into the new year?

Will you still cling to the old, sinful ways that have shaped your life up to this point? Even if you are a believer in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you probably still carry things inside of you that you just haven’t been able to turn over to God. It may be bitterness toward someone who hurt you long ago. It may be anger at someone who is supposed to be a loved one. It may be pride, or it may be arrogance. No matter what it may be, everyone still carries something that just will not relinquish its hold upon you without the direct intervention of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father.

Think about that for a moment.

As believers in Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we long to have our lives filled with what God has in store for us. Have you ever thought about why God has not poured out His blessings on you? It could very well be the thing that you cannot let go of is the one thing that is holding back God’s plans for you. Contrary to how this may sound, I am not professing a prosperity based reason for turning over those areas of your life. I am professing a simple, spiritual truth.

If you are angry because you have no friends, what happens when you walk around in a terrible mood and shun everybody because you have no friends? It is a self-perpetuating cycle. You must break that cycle to allow something new and wonderful to fill your life. God knows that if He fills your cracked and parched life with an overflowing of the water of life, you will not be able to hold it. We must change our cracked and parched lives for what God desires. We must turn to God and allow Him to work in our lives. We cannot turn to God and gain maturity on our own merits. He will grow us in our maturity if we turn to Him.

This coming year, I pray that each of us finds the increase in faith to make our lives like the new wineskins so that we may be able to hold the new wine of the Holy Spirit so that we may share that wine with those whom we meet.

I pray that each of us have a happy and Spirit filled new year – a new year that will be obvious to those whom we meet.

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
(1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NIV))

What is your attitude when you partake of communion? Are you thankful for the blessings that you have been freely given through the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross? Do you stop and reflect upon just what that moment in time two thousands years ago means to you at this very moment?

If you stop to think about what we have been given through this event and the symbolic ritual, you would come to the realization that every day should be one of gratitude and thanksgiving. We have been granted the opportunity to escape the consequences of our sinful nature simply by accepting Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior.

Just as our traditional Thanksgiving meals are designed to fill our stomachs, we should look upon the meal of Christ’s body and blood as one that is designed to fill our spirits. We should be overjoyed with the bounty of grace and mercy that we partake of through the atoning sacrifice that Jesus made for us.

I challenge everyone to stop and reflect upon your life. What are you most thankful for? I earnestly pray that your priorities place God’s grace and mercy where it should be. When you sit down with family and friends this Thanksgiving, stop to think about what Jesus went through so that you can be shown grace and mercy.

Lift your thanks up to the Lord this Thanksgiving and every single day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Whom do you have?

August 8, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
(Psalms 73:25 (NIV))

What is more important to you, the people in your life or the things in your life?

Be careful how you answer!

One more question for you. Who is more important to you, the people in your life or the Lord?

I realize that these questions may seem ridiculous, but answered honestly, they will tell you more about yourself than you probably care to admit. If you value things over people, then where is your heart? Where is your love? Some may say that valuing the people in your life is important and should take precedence over the Lord, but let me ask you another question. Who are you going to turn to when everyone in your life has let you down? Who will you turn to when even your spouse, your children or your closest friend disappoints you or are taken from you? When this happens, many people turn to the Lord, but I want to propose that the time to turn to the Lord is long before anything like this happens. When you can truthfully claim that you love the Lord, then your complete perspective on life changes. When you look at things or people as a priority, this is, in most cases, a self-centered outlook on life even if you think that you place yourself low on your priorities list. You are looking at the things or the people to make you happy, to bring meaning to your life, and to make you whole.

Think about these simple facts. Things rust and decay. All people, no matter how good they are, will disappoint you eventually. We are all sinful by nature.

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

Only the Lord is unchanging.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

With this simple truth, we should anchor our lives on a firm foundation that never changes. We should not look to things. We should not look to people. We should only look to the Lord! We only need to accept the grace and mercy freely given at the cross and claim the gift of grace for ourselves. When we honestly and truthfully make this claim, we have the Lord of all creation in our lives and nothing can surpass His majesty and glory!

Whom do you have?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you in a singing mood?

March 11, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble.
O my Strength, I sing praise to you;
you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.
(Psalms 59:16-17 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of someone singing?

If you are like most people, you will probably think that the person who is singing is joyful and happy. Occasionally, you will find someone singing when they are depressed and sad, but you will not find them singing joyful songs. David sang praises no matter how he felt, for he knew that God was the same regardless of what may be happening in his life. God still provided a fortress and a place of refuge in both the good times and in the times of trouble.

I find it difficult to be like David and sing praises in the times of trouble. It is human nature to focus on the situation at hand and complain because we feel abandoned. If we would only stop to realize that God is still there, we could easily turn our attitudes around.

You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.
(Psalms 30:11-12 (NIV))

No matter what situation we may find ourselves in, we must always sing praises to God. When we sing praises to God, it does not allow the enemy to gain an entrance into our lives. It does not allow the enemy to use our self-pity to turn us against God. When times are troubled, we must turn to God and rely fully on His grace and mercy. I don’t know about you, but thinking about God’s grace and mercy is always enough to get me singing – well, at least on the inside.

Are you in a singing mood?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is it that you sing of?

September 28, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
(Psalms 59:16 (NIV))

It is said that everyone has a song in their heart and that it is a direct reflection of what matters most to you. That makes perfect sense when you consider your heart reflects your treasure.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

The song in your heart is about what makes you happy. It is about what brings you joy in life. It is always about the thing that you place as number one in your life. Just as radio stations are categorized by different genre and play many songs in that genre, our hearts can have multiple songs all related to what brings you joy. For some, this is family. For others, this is worldly matters. Sadly, for many, this is themselves. The greatest song that you can place in your heart is the song where you proclaim your love for the Lord and the power of the Lord over your life. When this is your greatest song, everything that is within your heart will reflect this treasure. You will be filled with such an amazing joy. You will also have peace!

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

One more point to consider.

If you are angry at the world, what song comes out of your heart? Have you ever noticed that when you have joy and peace, you always seem to have a song in your heart that reflects the joy that you feel? What happens when the true reason for that joy and peace is the Lord?

What is it that you sing of?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What flows from within you?

September 17, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.
(John 7:38 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to look at your reflection in the mirror?

If you are like most people, you do this several times a day. Some are deliberate and some are purely by accident as you pass in front of a mirror or some other object that reflects your appearance. Are you happy with what you see reflected? Are you happy with what you see coming from your physical reflection?

Let’s take this one step further! Have you ever stopped to look at your spiritual reflection?

Sadly, most people don’t really take this serious of a look at themselves. Most people are superficial when it comes to spiritual matters. I hate to say this, but far too many people who own a Bible have not ever read all of it. Most of us tend to get things moving and then wonder why there are problems with our lives. We fail to look to the Creator. We fail to believe what has been recorded. We fail to focus on the things of God’s Word while we focus on the things of this world. This approach is, in essence, similar to buying a car and driving it without looking at the owners manual to see what needs to be done to make sure the car runs the way that it should.

Humanity was designed to be in fellowship with God. We had eternity with God. We had life beyond all understanding, but we broke that fellowship in the Garden of Eden. Jesus renewed that possibility for fellowship. He renewed the ability to spend eternity with God. He renewed the ability to have life beyond all understanding. This gift came with a price that Jesus willingly paid. All we have to do is believe!

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.
(John 3:16-17 (NIV))

Living water renews! Living water restores! There is only one source for such a powerful element and that is belief in Jesus! If you believe, then true belief calls for you to share the source with all who are in need of it. Do you truly believe in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? Is it visible to others?

What flows from within you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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