Where do your possibilities lie?

February 1, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:26 (NIV))

Most people recognize this passage and claim it when they feel that they are up against a wall and cannot possibly win. These are very encouraging words, but we often take them out of context and try to apply them to our desires and not God’s will. Jesus was not implying that God is a genii who will grant our every wish. They have taken this passage and completely ignored the discussion leading up to these words.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
(Matthew 19:23-25 (NIV))

It is a matter of priorities. It is a matter of where your treasure lies.

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

In other words, Jesus was implying that salvation is always possible with God. It may take time, but it is possible.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

Too many people place their hope in the treasures of this world, but these things fade and rust. Too many people place their hope in things that are impossible instead of placing them firmly in the hands of God the Father. If He can create everything that was created in seven days, then His plan for salvation is more than possible.

Have you lost all hope?

If this is the case, then you are looking to man for your hope, for God is the only possible source of hope. He gave us Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We could never save ourselves. That was and is an impossibility. He gave us Jesus as our salvation hope!

Where do your possibilities lie?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you forgotten how to follow this command?

January 24, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
(John 13:34 (NIV))

Let’s take a look at how Jesus loved when He walked this earth so that we can better understand how we are to love each other.

Jesus called people to repent, to turn from their selfish, sinful natures. He did this out of compassion for those caught in sin and the consequences of sin. He did not antagonize or mock sinners. He called to them out of a true love, a true desire to see them come to a saving knowledge of Him. He loved people because that is why He came!

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))

It is true that Jesus did get angry, but His anger was only manifested when God’s Temple was defiled or the religious leaders were making a mockery out of what God had intended. His anger was never focused on those whom He came to save. In fact, even in His anger, I think that it is safe to say that, just as a father’s heart breaks when his children misbehave, His heart broke for those who were doing the things that caused His anger.

Even in our darkest moments, He loves us!

Can we say that of each other? Can we love each other as Jesus loves us? Loving each other is part of loving God! It is part of our calling!

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
(1 John 4:20 (NIV))

Jesus has commanded that we love one another.

Have you forgotten how to follow this command?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What have you been asking for?

January 18, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
(1 John 5:14 (NIV))

Did you notice the stipulation in this passage?

All too often, people ask God for things that are from their will and not His. We are so self-centered that even when we are told to bring our concerns to the Lord, we ask as if we were the center of all creation. We ask as if God is our own personal servant whose only purpose is to fulfill our every desire. If this is how you have been approaching God, how has this been going for you?

Do you even spend time in God’s Word in search of His heart?

Do you even spend time in prayer talking to God and actually listening for His still, small voice?

How can you ask God for things that are according to His Will if you don’t even know what His Will is?

We know that God loves us. This is evident through the gift of salvation freely given through the cross. But, do we love Him in return? Do we simply give lip service to this gift and then continue to live as if we are still a part of this sinful, fallen world? Or, do we actually have a change of heart and see the world for what it is? Do we realize that the things that we had desired are now simply last grasps at the world that we say we want to leave behind?

God is not going to hear us if we ask for things of this world. God is not going to answer us if we are only being selfish in our desires.

Think about a young child in a toy store. Every other word out of their mouth is asking for the latest thing that has caught their eye. The parents know what is good and what is proper, yet the child still goes on and on about the things that they want. We are those children. The world is the toy store. God is ushering us through this world while trying to mature us enough so that what we ask for is not what is seen at every selfish turn of our heads. God is not going to give us the toy store of the world. He is going to give us things that are from Him according to His Will. He is going to give us things that will draw us closer to Him while they mature us in our faith.

God does want to bless us, but what we think of as a blessing is not how God thinks of blessings.

If you have been approaching God and you feel that He has not heard you, then you need to ask yourself one very important question.

What have you been asking for?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you long for Godly wisdom?

January 13, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
(Romans 1:22 (NIV))

Do you remember what we are told is God’s definition of a fool?

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

In essence, it is rejecting God. This can mean that someone never believed. It can also mean that this can come about from those who claim to know Him and then reject or turn away from Him.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
(Romans 1:21-23 (NIV))

We seem to be living in a time when fools are increasing in number. People are looking at the world as if they are in control. People feel as if they have all of the answers and all of the knowledge.

I want to let you in on a little secret. I have all of the answers.

To the world, that last statement may sound arrogant. It may sound just like all of the power hungry people all throughout history, but if you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you also have all of the answers!

I can proclaim this with complete certainty due to the following facts.

– We are all sinners
– We all are in need of a Savior

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
(Acts 4:12 (NIV))

I have come to realize that it takes faith to be a fool, to say that there is no God. People who make this profession see themselves as wise, but in all honesty, they are suffering from something that many people confuse for wisdom. They have been educated, they have been given false knowledge that makes them believe that there is no God. Personally, I don’t want the type of faith that it takes to be a fool. I long for Godly wisdom!

Do you long for Godly wisdom?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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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.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What have you set your mind on?

November 14, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
(Colossians 3:2 (NIV))

We all have those things that we constantly think about. These are the things that fill our thoughts when we are not being distracted by other things such as work, family, sporting events, and other such worldly pursuits. What we think about is a choice! In all honesty, it is so very easy for these very things that I just listed to become what we set our minds on, for we often choose to think on these things and completely neglect what we are truly called to think about.

My son, keep my words
     and store up my commands within you.
Keep my commands and you will live;
     guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.
Bind them on your fingers;
     write them on the tablet of your heart.
(Proverbs 7:1-3 (NIV))

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

God knows us all too well. He knows that what we think about is what we hold in our hearts. He knows the sinful, fallen human nature all too well. He knows that we are driven by desires. He knows that our sinful nature is what we will think of by default. I love the message in Colossians for it tells us distinctly to abandon our sinful nature and think only of the things of God.

Just how do you go about setting your mind on things above?

It takes a commitment!

You must dive deeply into God’s Word and search the scriptures so that you can know God intimately. You must love the Lord with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul. You must long for His truth above all else and you must recognize your own sinful nature.

That last one hurts! It is human nature to not want to admit that we are anything less than perfect. Too many of us think that we are masters of our own domain, our own destiny, and that anything that we do is perfectly acceptable. We don’t want to admit that we need help, let alone that we need a Savior to rescue us from our sin. That whole attitude changes when you recognize that you are a sinner in need of a Savior, and start focusing on the Lord and not on yourself. We soon realize that we are not the center of our own little world. It is a matter of perspective. How we look upon our lives will determine what we set our minds on. If you see this life as your chance to get all that this world has to offer, then you will think of the things of this world.

What have you set your mind on?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you know this great hope?

November 2, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,
(Ephesians 1:18 (NIV))

What do you see when you see the state of the world?

Unless you cling to the hope that we have in Jesus, what most people see in this world is dark and foreboding. To be honest with you, it is so easy to get wrapped up in the things of this world, especially when prices are escalating while the availability of resources seems to be plummeting. In many parts of the world, governments are expecting large numbers of deaths this winter due to shortages. We see the wars that are still raging and we see false peace being pushed. We see unstable governments all around the world, and we see evil being called good and good being called evil.

In the physical, when I see the state of the world, I am saddened. I am angry, and I am at a loss for what to do!

Thankfully, I know beyond any doubt that this world is not my home. I am a citizen of heaven, and I know that when things look bad here in this world, we are to look up for our redemption is near! As long as I keep my eyes on Jesus, I can rest confidently in the hope that I have in the promises of my Lord and my Savior. I don’t know what I will personally face in this world, but I do know one thing.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
(Romans 8:18 (NIV))

I long to reveal the glory of the Lord in all that I do. Some days I do okay. Other days I fail miserably. Fortunately, since I am not capable of being perfect, I do not have to be perfect. All that I have to do is place my faith in Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. There are times that I will fail miserably, but when that happens, I can seek His face, repent and pray for guidance. I am on a journey. Every step that I take is not going to be perfect, but as long as I keep my eyes focused on Jesus, my destination is clear. He is my hope. He is all the riches and glory that I need. He is my inheritance!

Do you know this great hope?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you accept the Word made flesh!

October 28, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 (NIV))

Perhaps this is why so many people do not spend time in God’s Word!

It makes then reflect on what they are doing!

We are creatures of habit. Human nature is far too predictable. When people reflect, they do not like what they see, so instead of changing to fit what God has called them to, they ignore God and continue in their sin. They put away what makes them see the things within themselves that they don’t like. In their minds, it is so much easier to live with the sin that they know instead of taking a chance to be free from their sin.

The Word of God is not something to be taken lightly, or, for granted. It is alive and has meaning for every person who has ever lived, whether they choose to accept that meaning or not.

Those who accept the Word of God and Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, will have their lives examined and changed by the Holy Spirit. They will find themselves worthy to stand before the Father. Those who do not accept the Word of God will be told that Jesus never knew them and will be cast out from the presence of God.

When was the last time that you actually picked up a Bible and diligently read more than a single passage? It is true that their is power in all Scripture, but it was never intended for you to just read a single passage on a random basis. Just as a single one of your cells is considered alive, it takes the complete collection to fully come to life. The same is true of God’s Word. To fully comprehend the life that is contained within the pages of the Bible, you have to read and study the whole thing. Only then will you truly begin to know the heart of the Father.

Do you spend time in God’s Word?

Do you truly accept the Word of God?

Do you accept the Word made flesh!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Believe!

October 13, 2022

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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))

You have a choice!

Once you make that choice, your life will continue to be a series of choices. Some times you will make the right choice and follow Jesus. There will be many times that you will make the wrong choice and do what you know is not according to His will. Even then, you have a choice! You can recognize your sin and repent. Don’t make the choice that leaves you arrogant and unrepentant!

Following Jesus is not easy. We have His words telling us what we should expect.

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
(Matthew 10:34-39 (NIV))

The reason for this is simple. Jesus calls us out of this world. He sets us apart from the sin in this world. As a result of this, we know how the world will react. We know that even family and friends who are of the world will hate the choice that has been made.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
(John 15:18-19 (NIV))

You have a choice!

You can choose to be loved by the world, or you can choose to follow Jesus.

Like I previously stated, following Jesus is not easy. Once you make the choice to follow Him, the world will try to do all within it’s power to cause you to fall. The world, and the prince of this world, will hate you because you have chosen to follow Jesus.

Personally, every day that I live, I choose to believe. Every breath that I take, I choose to believe. Every word that I type, I choose to believe in prayerful hope that you will make that same choice!

The choice is yours!

Believe!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Why do You still love us?

September 23, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

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

Is that how you see it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

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

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

Why do You still love us?

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