Have you truly accepted the peace that Jesus gives?

March 30, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
(John 14:27 (NIV))

Are you at peace with what is happening in the world?

Perhaps I should ask if you are at peace in spite of what is happening in the world. I honestly believe that every believer is watching and wondering what is going to happen next. We know that the world is a sinful, fallen place and that the things of this world will just continue to get worse. With that in mind, even those who profess a faith in Jesus are probably experiencing some concerns as things unfold. Thankfully, our concerns are not the end of our story, for our story is eternally tied to the story that God is unfolding through Jesus. Our concerns should be for the lost who are caught in the middle of the present circumstances for they see no hope in sight. Our worries should be for those individuals who have not accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and savior, you have a peace that passes all understanding. You have a peace that is evident in spite of what is going on in the world.

Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.
(Daniel 12:10 (NIV))

We must pray for a harvest! We must pray for an increase. We must pray for the atoning Blood of Jesus to cleanse, to purify, to make spotless, and to refine those who will answer His call. We must pray for an outpouring so that people will understand that they need to repent and turn to Jesus.

It breaks my heart to see people who have apparently lost all semblance of common sense. They just don’t seem to understand the basic principles of life. They just don’t seem to understand that there is an absolute truth and an absolute righteousness. They have abandoned the truth and believed the lie. The peace that I have in spite of the world is what I long to be able to share with these people, but they simply do not understand. I hate to draw this conclusion, for they are someone’s brother or sister, father or mother, son or daughter, but based on what Daniel has written, what does that make them in the eyes of God?

I am not at peace when I see what is happening in this world simply because I know far too many people who need Jesus, and they need Him now!

If it is possible to grasp, at the very same time, I am at peace in spite of the circumstances in the world. This comes only through knowing that I have personally placed my hope and trust in Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. That does not mean that my heart doesn’t break when I see the things that break the very heart of God. I just realized that my peace comes from Jesus changing me to the point where I now know what breaks the very heart of God. If you then expand that knowledge to a desire to not break His heart, but to fill your heart with Him, then you truly possess a peace that passes all understanding.

Have you truly accepted the peace that Jesus gives?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you think God is saying to us?

February 7, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But you have behaved more wickedly than your ancestors. See how all of you are following the stubbornness of your evil hearts instead of obeying me.
(Jeremiah 16:12 (NIV))

If God was speaking to Israel through Jeremiah because of their sin, what would He be saying to this world today?

God was using Jeremiah to remind Israel of the covenant that He had made with their ancestors to bring them out of Egypt and to give them the land if they would be obedient to His commands. He also used Jeremiah to remind the people of the consequences of their ancestors forsaking Him.

“When you tell these people all this and they ask you, ‘Why has the Lord decreed such a great disaster against us? What wrong have we done? What sin have we committed against the Lord our God?’ then say to them, ‘It is because your ancestors forsook me,’ declares the Lord, ‘and followed other gods and served and worshiped them. They forsook me and did not keep my law.
(Jeremiah 16:10-11 (NIV))

It did not stop there. He then used Jeremiah to tell the people that they were worse than their ancestors!

We don’t have a way to look back in history and see Israel’s society firsthand. All we have is God’s Word and that they followed other gods. What do you think that they did?

Did they sacrifice their children? We do this to the god of convenience.

Did they worship and idolize wealth and fame? Our society does.

Did they ignore God? We do much more than this.

Did they lust after things of the flesh and abandon God’s order? It is called a lifestyle choice.

Did they practice witchcraft and sorcery? Do I even need to say what our society does?

I could probably go on and on with speculations on what they did. I could also go on and on about the things that are happening in our society today, and even in our churches, and I am certain that you would sadly see many similarities. Do I venture to say that you would even see worse things today?

Are there any Jeremiah’s in the world today? Is there anyone who is telling God’s truth and telling the world that we are behaving more wickedly than our ancestors? Is there anyone who is calling people to repent of their wicked ways and to turn to Jesus? We think that we are better than our ancestors, but how many people spend time daily in God’s Word? Our ancestors did? How many people fear the consequences of sin? Our ancestors did. How many people have accepted sin as a lifestyle choice? Our ancestors didn’t do that! If we profess to have a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, but do not hold fast to the truths that He taught, have we forsaken our faith? Have we accepted a sugarcoated false gospel?

What do you think God is saying to us?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you possess what it takes to understand the Scriptures?

November 3, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
(Luke 24:45 (NIV))

Have you ever truly thought about this passage and this concept?

Most people believe that they can understand what they read, but most things that people read are written for their level of comprehension. For example, how many people do you know who could read a book on an advanced science and fully understand the concepts being presented? First, you would need to have an interest in the subject. You would also need someone to explain the concepts in order to understand it accurately. Once it is explained, then you have a basis of understanding and can read and understand other similar material.

The same is true of the Scriptures and who better to explain it than the One that everything is written about?

We know the story of the Road to Emmaus, and how Jesus opened their minds to better understand what they had been taught all of their lives. We know how they went to tell the Disciples what had happened, and then we know that Jesus appeared in the midst of those who were gathered. We know that He then explained everything to them.

Jesus opened their minds!

I don’t know about you, but if I had witnessed the crucifixion and then was presented with Jesus alive and well, I would listen very intently to what He had to say. I would cling to His every word in the hope of receiving insight and truth.

Why don’t we do that today?

We have His words. We have the words written about Him that told of Him long before He walked the earth. We have the same human understanding and inquisitive minds as they possessed then, but why do we fail to allow His Word to open our minds and our hearts? Have we become shallow in our pursuit of truth? Have we become shallow in our pursuit of understanding? Have we lost our ability to study and reason? Have we become so distractible that we can’t focus long enough to have our minds opened to the truth?

There is only so much that we can have spoon fed to us. At some point, we need to say that we understand the basics and then continually read and study for ourselves while always keeping a prayerful heart and a mind open to understanding God’s Word. It requires effort. It requires an interest. It requires dedication.

Do you possess what it takes to understand the Scriptures?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you believe in Jesus?

June 14, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God ; believe also in me.
(John 14:1 (NIV))

For anyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, it should be second nature to do what this passage states. We know and trust these words as well as other words that Jesus has spoken about troubles in this world.

“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))

The big question that should be evident from these passages is a simple question.

Do you believe in Jesus?

It is your answer that makes this difficult. It is the state of your heart that gives you away. Is your heart troubled by all of the events that have been transpiring and increasing in frequency in the world lately? What does that say about your faith if you look to the state of the world to determine your peace? These events should make you turn to the one who has overcome the world. They should make you lift your eyes in hopeful anticipation of seeing Jesus!

Exactly what do you believe about Jesus, for what you truly believe will dictate how your heart reacts? How confident are you of your salvation, for that confidence will determine the relationship that you have with Jesus?

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

How strong is your relationship with Jesus, for this relationship will determine your trust? In other words, do you trust Jesus to be who He is and to fulfill all that He has promised? If you fully trust Jesus to fulfill all of His promises, then why should you let your heart be troubled? Why should you not believe in the Lord?

Do you believe in Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted His peace?

May 14, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
(John 14:27 (NIV))

There is so much packed into these three short sentences!

Jesus starts off by telling us that He gives us peace, but we know that the peace that He gives is so much more than the fleeting glimpses that the world shows us.

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

What has the world given you?

You may start to say life and love, but where did those truly come from?

The things that this sinful, fallen world gives us are not what God gives us. Pain and heartache come to mind as just two examples of the not so wonderful gifts the world gives us. Sickness and death come to mind, as well as bitterness and anxiety. In essence, the things that the world bestows upon us are not the gifts that we want.

With that in mind, what has the world actually given to you?

Is it anything that you desire to keep?

What has Jesus given to you? What has God given to each of us in our sinful, fallen nature?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:8‬ (‭NIV‬‬))

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 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))

Lastly, Jesus tells us to not be fearful and troubled.

“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))

We can stand firmly on the promises of these three sentences, but it comes with a price. We must profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior! We must repent and follow Jesus! Only then will we have the peace that only He can give.

Have you accepted His peace?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Happy New Year!

December 29, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
(Revelation 1:8 (NIV))

God is good all the time! Yesterday, today and tomorrow, He is the same. He is the Alpha and the Omega. Now that we are ending a year that has had the whole world afraid to be in public and as we are entering a new year that has many people worried and wondering, we must remember that God is God and He never changes. No matter what happens when January 1st comes, God is still God.

If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, your joy is not tied to the events of this world. No matter what may happen in this world, we should have a true sense of joy. We should have a true sense of peace.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV))

There are a few words in this passage from Philippians that stand out to me.

Rejoice.

Always.

Peace.

Guard.

Hearts.

Minds.

If we profess that God is the Almighty, and we also profess that Jesus is Lord, why do we look at this world with such a pessimistic outlook? Are we truly allowing our hearts and minds to be guarded by the peace of God?

Think about that as we step into what I am certain will be a very uncertain year. No matter what we may face, we must remember who is in charge and in whom we have placed our faith. With the promises that we have been given by God, we should be able to face anything in this world with a joy and a peace that is beyond the ability of the world to understand. We just need to make sure that we don’t fail to understand.

Happy New Year!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must be thankful and not anxious!

November 26, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV))

Patience is a virtue.

We all know that patience is a fruit of the Spirit. If that is the case, then anxiety is what? A fruit of Satan? I don’t admit to knowing, but it would appear that it is not a desirable trait.

Patience comes from an inner peace. This peace can only come from God. Anxiousness does not come from peace. It comes from an inner restlessness and a thirst that is longing to be quenched. There is only one way to quench that thirst, and that is by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Once you do this, God’s peace will come upon you.

Still, the world has a way of creeping into our lives even when we do not want it to. If we are not anxious, but are patient and wait on God, then He will provide and protect us from the world. It is when we do not wait on God that the world gets into our lives and ruins the peace.

Are you anxious for anything? We must learn to be thankful in all circumstances and surrender our anxiety to the one who is in control!

We must be thankful and not anxious!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will you continue to stand firm in God’s authority?

November 4, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
(Romans 13:1 (NIV))

As I sit down to write this, I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

I wonder what the weather will be like. I wonder how my day will go. I wonder what the outcome of the election will be, but I do not wonder who is ultimately in charge!

Can you say the same thing?

No matter who may win the election, it will not come as a surprise to God. He will not look down on this nation and say that He didn’t see it coming. In fact, everything that is happening is happening as a part of His plan. The stage has been set. Whether the same players come back for the next act or new people come into the spotlight, the results that God has planned since the beginning will still unfold according to His purpose. If we truly have placed our faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then we know who ultimately wins. Based on world events, many people believe that His victory is closer than we know.

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

Will you be at peace no matter the outcome of this election?

Will you continue to stand firm in God’s authority?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you found the Lord?

October 6, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call on him while he is near.
(Isaiah 55:6 (NIV))

Do you take the Lord for granted? Do you think that He will always be there for you to turn to if and when you decide to turn to Him? Why do you think that Isaiah wrote to seek Him while he may be found? Why do you think that it is written to call on Him while He is near? Will there be a point in time when it will be too late?

We know that at some point in what appears to be the not too distant future God will remove His Holy Spirit along with the true church. The Holy Spirit restrains the enemy and provides that still small voice that haunts the hearts, minds and souls of those who have not accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Seeking the Lord before this happens will result in finding Him and His promises fulfilled. Once this event happens, will it be possible to seek the Lord? Will He be able to be found? Will anyone be able to call on Him?

Repent and seek the Lord today before it is too late! Isaiah understood that there will come a time when it is too late. The Lord had him record instructions for those who have not turned to Him in repentance and what awaits them when they do.

Let the wicked forsake their ways
    and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
(Isaiah 55:7 (NIV))

Have you found the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Who are your brother and sister?

September 23, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

I have often wondered how Jesus would answer someone if they had asked Him who is their brother or sister?

Perhaps Jesus would give an answer similar to the one He gave when He was asked what was the greatest commandment.

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 12:29-31 (NIV))

Would He have answered with a parable similar to the Good Samaritan as He did when He was asked who is my neighbor? Jesus turned it around on the person who asked by telling the parable and then asked who he thought was a neighbor.

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
(Luke 10:37 (NIV))

Perhaps he would have answered similarly to when He was told His mother and brothers were outside and wanted to speak with Him.

He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
(Matthew 12:48-50 (NIV))

Are we seeing a distinction between a neighbor and a brother? Are we being told to show love and mercy to our neighbors and to love those who do the will of His Father? Is there a difference between showing love and mercy to a neighbor and actually loving someone who is a member of the Body? This is a topic that will require much more than just a few paragraphs to bring to light. Suffice it to say that if someone calls upon Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, they are a brother or a sister to anyone and everyone who also makes that same profession. We are to love them. We are also called to show love and mercy to those who are not part of the Body of Christ. If you stop to think about this last statement, perhaps the very love and mercy that you show will be what the Lord uses to reach their heart!

To play it safe, it sounds like we should show the love of Jesus to everyone. How can we claim to love God and still have hate in our hearts for anyone whom God loves?

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))

Who are your brother and sister?

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