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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We must learn to see others through God’s eyes!

August 4, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
(1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV))

How many times have you made a false judgment about someone simply based on their outward appearance?

If you are like me, you probably needed a little bit of time to be honest with yourself, especially when you come to the realization that we are all sinful, fallen creatures who are more concerned with the pretentiousness of the physical than any other aspects of our lives.

I believe that this happens as a result of our sinful, fallen nature. Let’s face the truth. We lost so much when humanity believed a lie and fell from grace. We lost the direct connection with God the Father, and as a result, we lost our ability to truly discern things based on God’s standards. Because of this, humanity has repeatedly fallen for the richest, the strongest, the tallest, the best looking, the most charismatic, and the most deceptive simply because we can only see the outer appearances. We can’t see people the way that God sees them. In fact, we don’t even see ourselves as God sees us. We see ourselves as worthless because we compare ourselves to what we can see in others. What we don’t see is the hidden secrets behind the veil of the outward appearance. We make the assumption that what is on the inside is just as good as what we see on the outside.

When you look in a mirror, what do you see?

I would safely assume that you see more in yourself than your outer appearance, yet, still not as much as what God sees in you. If we know that we are more than our outer appearances, why do we make the assumption that others are not like that? We falsely judge the proverbial book by its cover while completely ignoring the chapters contained within. We see a pretty face. God sees a shallow heart. We see a handsome athlete. God sees a self-centered arrogance. We see a rich young man. God sees a lost soul. We see someone who seems to love the spotlight. God sees a lonely heart.

Appearances can be deceptive. Things are not always as they seem. We must learn to look beyond the superficial and learn to see people the way God sees them. If you stop to think about it, when you hear someone say that a certain person has a good heart, that is usually a slight backhanded stab at their outer appearance. The same can be said for when you refer to someone as having a great personality. Have you ever said anything like that about someone? If so, have you repented for this and asked God to let you see them as He sees them?

We must learn to see others through God’s eyes!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Take heart! For Jesus has overcome the world!

August 1, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
(2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV))

This evening, I came very close to losing heart!

I came into my office and went to turn on the computer that I use to write, store and update the devotionals, the images, my notes, my reference materials, and the main website and the backup blog site, AND . . .

It would not turn on!

NOTHING!

With all of the storms that have been moving through my area, apparently they took out the computer since Friday evening. My first reaction was exactly what you would expect from a typical human reaction when anyone encounters this type of situation. It made it through my surge protection and my battery backups. After taking a step back and asking the Lord the typical why me question, He reminded me that no one is exempt from the attacks of the enemy and that the attacks increase if you are trying to do what you are called to do for the kingdom. I then remembered my small external hard drive that I use for file access when I use a less powerful laptop with far less storage. I found myself praying that this portable hard drive wasn’t hit. Thankfully, it was spared and I am able to get this devotional written and sent today even though my database of devotionals and images are not up to date. God made me realize that I was relying on my skills with computers and not relying on Him. At present, I do not have access to the almost 2 TB of notes, images, and reference materials that God has shown to me over the years. I have an automatic backup in place, but I do not currently have a computer with enough capacity to get to these backup files, and that is IF the backup system was not taken out as well!

I pray that it wasn’t, BUT . . .

Even if it was, it is not the end of the world, or the end of this ministry. I do not rely on things made of man. I use them to do what I am called to do. The technology is the means of distribution. It is not the means of inspiration. Tonight I had a personal reminder of exactly what Jesus spoke of.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Since I started this path almost twenty-five years ago, many things have changed. What I was once able to do for free, the ministry now has to pay monthly fees, and these fees are not cheap. I want to take this opportunity to stop and thank those who have contributed over the years and to say that it is with your help that this ministry has been able to reach 128 countries on six continents. Today, I had someone ask me why I missed a day last week. I had to explain that I had power problems that only effected my office and my internet. I had to stop this evening and think back on that question with the realization that the power event had also been an attack of the enemy.

I realize that things happen in this world. I also realize that when these things do happen, we do not need to lose heart.

Take heart! For Jesus has overcome the world!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://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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We must all learn to patiently wait for the Lord!

July 20, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Wait for the Lord;
     be strong and take heart
     and wait for the Lord.
(Psalms 27:14 (NIV))

There is something about human nature that just does not like to wait. We are impatient and this is probably a direct result of the fall from grace. To take this one step further, not only are we to wait for the Lord, but we are to do it patiently. We are to wait for His timing and His purpose.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
     he turned to me and heard my cry.
(Psalm 40:1 (NIV))

I found myself today asking what am I to do, what am I to write about that people need to understand. I do not profess for this to be what you may take it to mean, but instantly I found myself thinking that I need to wait for the Lord.

How about you?

Do you need to patiently wait for the Lord?

With all that is going on in your life, are you able to wait?

With all that is going on in the world, are you able to wait?

Each of us have things in our lives that we want God to resolve for us instantly. We all want God to resolve the world issues instantly. We are seeking these resolutions, these fixes, these prayers to be met on our timeframe. Every single person who professes a faith in Jesus is asking for things done on their timeframe. Some things will happen sooner than later, but everything will happen according to God’s timing. His ways are perfect. His timing is perfect. I am sure that you are familiar with the saying that God is never late and He is also never early. We want the early answer, but we must learn to be patient and wait for the never late timing that God is so good at doing.

When things seem like you can’t wait another minute, remind yourself that He is not on our timeframe. We are on His!

We must all learn to patiently wait for the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you pray to be cleansed and renewed?

July 14, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
     and renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (ESV))

Some translations say a pure heart instead of a clean heart. In your mind, what is the difference between cleanliness and purity? Have you ever given any thought to this? Whatever translation and whatever word that you use, David is asking the Lord to take control of his heart and to remove all instances of sin. It is the heart that directs a person. It is the heart that hides what you truly desire. It is the heart that guides our actions and our words.

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.
(Matthew 15:18 (NIV))

Where does your heart guide you? What does your heart make you say and do?

I have been writing and sending these out for almost twenty-five years. Honestly, there have been times when my heart is not where it should be. My spirit is not where it should be. I am only human, and we all go through highs and lows, even when we profess a faith in Jesus. Sometimes we can get stuck in a rut, a routine, and miss the big picture because we are focusing on the small stuff. This happens to everyone, and when it happens, we must recognize our condition and bring it to the Lord. I have found that the greater the frequency of turning to God, the better the outcome, for He always brings cleanliness, purity, and renewal when you ask.

How often do you ask?

If you find yourself thinking that you are good and don’t have to ask that often, then I think a very thorough self-reflection is called for. All of us are human and as sinful, fallen humanity, we can’t go very long without sinning. We may make it a day. We may make it a few hours, or we may only make it a few minutes. No matter how long we may make it without sinning, it is not long enough.

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

Personally, there are several things that I try to discipline myself to do. Some of them include:
1. Being still in His presence
2. Reading and studying His Word
3. Praying for cleansing and righteousness
4. Praying in general

I could add more, but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment. I love to be still in His presence, yet, I am fearful for I know that I am a sinner. I long to be cleansed and renewed so that I may mature into the image of Christ.

Do you pray to be cleansed and renewed?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you relying on the true source of strength?

July 6, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
(Philippians 4:13 (NKJV))

As I sit here tonight, this passage caught my attention. I feel weary. I feel like I have been beat up. I feel like I am swimming upstream against a current of unrighteousness and down right evil in this world. Everything that I see appears so far from what God desires that it breaks my heart. I can only imagine what it does to the very heart of God.

Do you find yourself like this? Do you look at the events unfolding in this world and all that you can do is muster a groan from your spirit? You are not alone in this. I often feel the same way. Take heart because this is the Holy Spirit working inside of us.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
(Romans 8:26 (NIV))

We should find strength in our weariness. We should find strength in our trials. We should find strength in our groanings, for they are all indicators that we do not belong to the world. We belong to the Lord! He doesn’t call us to rely on our strength. We are to trust and follow Him.

Does that change your perspective on Philippians 4:13?

Are you relying on the true source of strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What flows from your heart?

June 28, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Above all else, guard your heart,
     for everything you do flows from it.
(Proverbs 4:23 (NIV))

It is said that everything that we hold dear we hide in our hearts. The following passage confirms this.

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

What do you typically do with things that you treasure?

It is human nature to want to protect the things that you treasure, so it makes perfect sense to guard your heart if what you hold dear, what you treasure, is hidden away inside your heart. We think of guarding our heart so that we don’t allow our treasure to slip away, but we also guard our heart to prevent something from slipping in and corrupting or stealing what we treasure.

Your heart provides a glimpse into what you treasure. If you love music, your heart will seek out music. If you love nature, your heart will seek the outdoors. Conversely, if you love sin, then your heart will seek out sin. Each of these examples had to be planted into your life. What do you allow to be planted? What do you allow to be nurtured? What do you allow to flow from your heart?

I realize that these are tough questions, but they are questions that you must ask yourself on a regular basis. And, you must answer truthfully. Sometimes your answers will shock you, but they will be evident to those around you. They will see what flows from your heart.

I realize that it is easier said than done, but we must all guard our hearts. We must desire for godliness and righteousness to flow from our heart.

What flows from your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t be a fool in the eyes of God!

June 17, 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))

Who would consider you to be a fool? Would the world say that of you or would God?

You cannot appease both. Either you throw your faith with God and the world thinks you a fool or you stand with the world and God knows you for what you are. Either way, we make a decision that leaves us a fool in the eyes of someone.

Each of us is born with a void inside of us. That void can only be filled by God. Many people try to fill it with other things, but they can never be satisfied. To those who say that there is no God, they have attempted to fill that void with worldly things and have found no peace. Since they cannot find peace in this manner, they assume that God does not exist. They reason that how could a being who created us leave us with such an emptiness? Since we have an emptiness, then there must be no God. They marvel at their reasoning.

The way of a fool seems right to him,
   but a wise man listens to advice.
(Proverbs 12:15 (NIV))

They lack the very peace that they seek.

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

Peace comes from only one source. It is that source that can also fill the void within us. When that void is filled with God, then we have a change of heart. We realize that there is a God and that He loves us. He guides us in our deeds. We learn to walk in His ways. We realize that we have been the very fools that we claimed others to be.

If you have to chose who will label you as a fool, who will it be?

Don’t be a fool in the eyes of God!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you need to make adjustments to your priorities?

June 9, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
(Matthew 6:33 (NIV))

What is it that you seek in life? Is it self-indulgent? Is it self-gratifying? Is it something that you would be proud to tell someone about?

Far too many people seek the wrong things in life. Sadly, some people seek the right things but for the wrong reasons. These people seek to do what is right, but not because it is right, but because it will bring them notoriety and recognition. They seek the accolades of men and not the recognition by God.

It is a matter of the heart and priorities.

What are your priorities?

I once heard a talk given on priorities. It was a short, but powerful retrospective discourse that made me look inside myself and come to the conclusion that I had been the very person who had been doing things for the wrong reasons. I came away with the realization that I needed to place God first in all that I do. It has not been easy to live up to this realization. I fail many times a day. Still, I know that when I fail, I can ask for grace and mercy and repent and try again.

Seeking God’s kingdom first is not easy. Nothing worth having is easy. Think about your favorite past-time. Whether it is golf, art, or a musical instrument, it required work. Mastering it was not an easy task. That was only one part of your life. God’s kingdom is all encompassing. It requires all of your life. If you seek God’s kingdom first, He will give you grace and mercy so that everything else will fall in place.

What are your priorities?

Do you need to make adjustments to your priorities?

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