Have you truly found rest?

September 7, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NIV))

Weary and burdened!

Do these two words describe you?

To be honest with you, these two words probably describe the majority of people in the world after living through the events of the last several years. Even if you don’t profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, it is extremely easy to give recognition to the fact that something is not right in the world today. People used to have common sense. Now, common sense is far from common. People used to be able to agree that the principles conveyed in the Ten Commandments were good and true. Now, if you try to say that stealing is wrong or that murder is wrong, you are blatantly told that what you claim to be truth is not the truth for everyone. We used to be able to disagree on things and still be friends. Now, if you disagree with someone, you are cast away and discarded like you were a mortal enemy. If you try to tell someone about Jesus, you are told to “EXPLETIVE”-off. What happened to our society? What happened to our world?

With all of this, it is so easy to become weary and burdened. In fact, most people do not have any idea just how far things will go and what is rapidly coming. To be honest with you, neither do I, but I do have a peace that passes all understanding. I am at rest because I know who holds the future even when the future is so uncertain.

I have placed my faith in Jesus!

He is my rock. He is my fortress. He is my firm foundation. I have placed all faith, hope and trust in Him alone. I have accepted His offer to trade burdens. He has willingly taken my burdens, my sins and my problems, and I have been given His grace and His mercy. I am no longer yoked with the weight of my sins, this world, or the worries of what is to come.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:29-30 (NIV))

I hear news stories of things unfolding. I read accounts of the world’s unrighteousness. I witness firsthand the wars and rumors of wars. I see nations rise against nation. I see all of this and so much more, yet, I still have a peace. Even with all that is going on in the world, I know who wins in the end. I don’t have to worry about tomorrow. I have truly found peace and rest.

Have you truly found rest?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you found your refuge and shield?

August 2, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

You are my refuge and my shield;
    I have put my hope in your word.
(Psalms 119:114 (NIV))

This passage is sandwiched right in the middle of two very interesting passages.

I hate double-minded people,
    but I love your law.
(Psalm 119:113 (NIV))

The Psalmist starts off with what he hates, but quickly counters with what he loves. He lays open his heart to the Lord by describing the things that he wishes were not around him. He then quickly counters this with the very thing that he longs to always be in the midst of.

Away from me, you evildoers,
    that I may keep the commands of my God!
(Psalm 119:113 (NIV))

Again, we see that the Psalmist longs for evil to be completely removed from his presence so that he can focus on God and His Word.

Nestled between these two verses is a passage where the Psalmist opens up his heart completely to the Lord. In the midst of double-minded people, he takes refuge in the Lord. In the midst of evildoers, he keeps the commands of the Lord. He is not swayed by those who are double-minded and those who do evil. He keeps his eyes firmly on the Lord.

With all that is happening in the world today, do you hate those who are double-minded? Do you desire to flee from those who do evil? Do you long to find refuge in what you love? Do you long to walk humbly in obedience to God’s law? Do you turn to the Lord for shelter and protection? Is your only hope found within His word?

Think about what the Psalmist was portraying in these three passages. He is surrounded by evil, yet he finds complete shelter and hope in the midst of these things by focusing only on the Lord. It doesn’t matter what comes before or what comes after. He is safe and secure in the midst of all troubles because he trusts in the Lord. Is that what you desire when you find yourself in the midst of double-mindedness and evil? Is this what you desire when the whole world is falling apart? Is this what you desire even when things are going good? Have you found shelter in what you love?

Have you found your refuge and shield?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How does God see your faith?

July 27, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

What are you the most confident of in this world?

What is it that makes you feel this confidence?

There are many things that are in this world that I am confident of, but everything that I am confident of are things that I can see, hear, feel and touch. Still, even these things can and do fail me. If you look at things in this manner, you could almost say that you are confident to a point, but what happens when that point is reached or you go beyond that point? For example, you are confident that the brakes on your car will help you stop, but what happens when someone pulls out in front of you and you physically can’t come to a stop?

In essence, everything in this world that we place our confidence in will at some point fail us!

Our health will deteriorate. Our strength and youth will leave us. Our homes will need repairs. Our cars will break down. Our relationships will be stressed and sometimes they will break. Even the things that we love the most in this world will eventually lose their luster.

But, . . .

If we place our faith in Jesus, we truly have the confidence in what we hope for. We have the assurance that even though we don’t see Him, He will return for us. We have the witnesses who recorded His life when He walked this earth. We have God’s promises that we can hold fast to.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV))

Yes and Amen!

Positive affirmation and a resounding proclamation of “So let it be!” Human language can’t express the fullness, the completeness of our confidence in what we hope for in Jesus. We have assigned a very simple word to try to convey what we feel. That word is faith. I love how faith is defined for us in Hebrews 11:1, but do you have a personal definition of faith that you cling to in times of trouble? Perhaps it is beyond words.

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. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
(Romans 8:26-27 (NIV))

There is something wonderful and powerful when you have the confidence and the assurance that the God of all creation can and does intercede for us through our wordless groans. Even when you can’t define it, God sees our faith!

How does God see your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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His plans are out of this world!

July 22, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
(Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV))

Do you feel like you have hope and a future?

Your answer to that question is all a matter of perspective.

Do you look at your life in relation to how things are in the world around you or do you look at your life in relation to whose you are?

You can feel helpless, hopeless and lost if you focus on the things of this world, especially when the things of this world are progressing as they have been for the last few years. If your hope is based on worldly things, then you truly are helpless, hopeless and lost for the things of this world are rapidly turning evil and depraved. We can focus on the troubles that we are walking through, or we can focus on the promises that are at the end of those troubles and we can focus on the one who is with us even in the midst of those troubles. Even the disciples of Jesus knew that they would face troubles. They also knew that they had placed their faith in the one who has overcome the troubles of 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 words from Jeremiah were recorded when many had been carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. In essence, they were taken captive and taken to another country. Babylon was not a country you went to for a vacation. They took captives from all of the lands that they had defeated in war. They attacked the other countries in order to extend their kingdom! The words recorded within Jeremiah were a promise to those who were in the midst of very difficult times. They were a promise from the Lord that He still had plans for them. He still knew what the future held even though the people in captivity could see no possible reason to have any hope.

The Lord is still saying this today to those who call upon His name!

He has plans for us. He has given us a hope far greater than the promise of the hope that He gave to the exiles. They were looking for freedom in the physical world. We have been given freedom from the consequences of our sins. He has such amazing plans for those who call upon His name. We should know a peace that passes all understanding even in the midst of the chaos of this world. Our peace comes from the One who has overcome the world by defeating sin and death. Our true prosperity is coming as we are given an eternity in His presence.

His plans are out of this world!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Seek Him in all that you do!

July 19, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.
(Romans 1:28 (NIV))

The English Standard Version and the New King James Version both reference a debased mind. The King James Version uses the words a reprobate mind. No matter what translation you prefer, the meaning is clear. God allows those who basically mock Him and rebel against Him to get exactly what they want to the point of depravity, corruption, evil and perversion.

When you see things unfolding in this world, we must remember that God is a gentleman. He will not force Himself on anyone. He allows people to get what they want. As we watch things unfold right before our eyes, all that we can do is pray for God’s Will to be done. When evil is being called good and good is being called evil, we must pray for God’s Will to be done. When the world appears to be helpless, hopeless and lost, we must pray for God’s Will to be done. We look at things and want to pray for our will to be done, but that is what the world strives to do. We must put our will aside and pray that we seek His Will and His understanding. Sadly, there are so many people who will push their will all the way to eternal separation from God.

I know a lady who got to the point that she simply prayed to know what she needs to know when she needs to know it. With all that is going on in the world, I truthfully believe that we should all be praying this same prayer. Ask for His guidance. Ask for His direction. Stay at the foot of the cross and keep your eyes focused on Jesus.

I saw many things today that from a worldly perspective made my heart sink. At the same time, from a faith perspective, they made me look up for Jesus! When you hear of a public address program aimed at New York City telling people what to do in case of a nuclear attack, you look up. When you hear of record breaking heat waves in areas of the world that have never had temperatures in these extremes, you look up. When you hear of global pandemics, you look up. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, you look up. When you hear of labor shortages, food shortages, and increasing prices, you look up. When you hear that people can’t define the differences between a man and a woman, you look up. When a lie is considered the truth and the truth is considered a lie, you look up.

I don’t know about you, but I am seeing so much depravity in the world. There is so much more than I have ever seen.

I saw a video today that had me in tears. It wasn’t because of the depravity it contained. It was a music video of the song “Way Maker.” It was performed in Jerusalem and the group consisted of Arabic believers and Jewish believers singing the song in Arabic, Hebrew and English. I watched it so many times and each time I watched it, I felt such joy and peace. I had tears in my eyes each time I watched it. Just thinking about it brings tears of joy.

Can you imagine the chorus of voices in heaven? Worship at its finest. Far away from the depravity of the world.

We have a promise to hold on to. Don’t allow the depravity of the world make you lose site of that promise, that hope that we have in Jesus.

The knowledge of our Lord is so worthwhile!

Seek Him in all that you do!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has your hope in the Lord renewed your strength?

June 24, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But those who hope in the Lord
      will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
      they will run and not grow weary,
      they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

How have you been the last few years?

Do you find yourself growing weak, weary and faint because of all of the things going on in the world?

To be honest with you, I personally do not understand how someone who doesn’t have a faith in Jesus can keep their sanity in all that has happened and continues to happen in this world. Perhaps that is why we see an increase in suicides and an increase in other choices that go against anything Godly and righteous. When things go badly in this world, too many people look for comfort in all of the wrong places. They should turn to Jesus!

I remember immediately after 9/11 and the massive influx of people into churches. They were looking for sense to be made out of the events that had transpired. I don’t know the percentage of people who quickly fell away, but they did turn to God for a while. Today, if people aren’t already in a church, if anything happens, they seem to ignore God completely, or even blame Him for the events. It is sad to see just how the attitudes towards God have changed in just a little over twenty years.

Hold fast to your faith!

Stand firm in the promises of God!

We must recognize that our hope is built on the rock, on the firm foundation that is our Lord Jesus. When we have accepted Jesus and fully rely on the hope that we have placed in Him, He will renew our strength. No matter what we may face in this world, we will not grow weary. We will not faint in the face of the enemy as he tries everything in his feeble power to turn the world away from God. I don’t often quote hymns, but this should be our anthem in times of worldly trouble, for we have a risen Savior who has overcome the world.

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand:
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.

I bet that you started singing this as you read it. It should be so ingrained in the hearts and minds of those who profess a faith in Jesus that we sing it loudly and proudly as He renews our strength; as He lifts us up to soar on wings like eagles; as He gives us strength to run and not grow weary; and as He gives us strength to walk and not be faint.

Has your hope in the Lord renewed your strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How is your strength?

April 20, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

but those who hope in the LORD
      will renew their strength.
   They will soar on wings like eagles;
      they will run and not grow weary,
      they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but sometimes the weight of the world just seems to come crashing in. I know that we just celebrated the resurrection of Jesus, but I wonder how much of what we do could go away? I wonder how much of our “traditions” make us weary and burdened. I wonder how much of the “traditions” could simply stop so that we can focus on what is truly important. We need to focus on the fact that Jesus was resurrected from the grave!

I am tired! I am weary from and of the things that this world says that we have to do. Sometimes I feel like Elijah when he ran from Jezebel. I don’t fear for my life and want to die, but I do want to escape and find rest. I am sure that I am not the only one who feels like this, especially with all that has happened and is happening in the world. Even Jesus had to get away and reestablish His connection with the Father through prayer.

In much the same way that we plug in our cell phones to a power source to recharge so that we can take them back out into the world, we must plug into our power source and recharge. We must renew our strength. We must tap into the source that allows us to run and not grow weary. We must find ourselves hoping in the Lord. We must find ourselves turning to Him when we feel drained and unable to go any further. We must realize that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is also with us. We must realize that if we place our hope in the Lord then God is for us!

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8:31 (NIV))

How is your strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you believe that Jesus is Lord?

April 19, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
(Romans 10:9 (NIV))

I can’t think of a better passage of scripture to follow up with after the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus!

The resurrection sets the stage for this passage, for without the resurrection, the claims made are nothing more than wishful thinking. But, because Jesus is alive, we can make this profession of faith knowing that it is absolutely true. We can say that “Jesus is Lord” without any doubt in our minds. We can believe, actually, we can know with absolute certainty that God raised Jesus from the dead. We can have the faith to not only say that “Jesus is Lord,” we can also have the faith to know that our salvation is assured because of His death, burial and triumphant resurrection.

What is faith?

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

Even though we live some two thousand years after the resurrection, are you truly confident that Jesus arose from the dead? Are you truly confident that Jesus is God’s perfect sacrificial lamb to atone for your sins? Are you truly confident in your eternal future because of this proclamation?

If Jesus is your personal Lord and Savior, then each of us are called to do one thing as we walk out our life of faith. Just as Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, He is telling us the very same thing.

“Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:11b (NIV))

If you profess that Jesus is Lord, then by definition a lord is one who has power and authority over you. If you profess that Jesus is Lord and He has told you to leave your life of sin, are you being obedient? I realize that we are only human and that we will fail, but we must possess a desire to strive for this sinless life. When we fail, we must repent. We must keep our eyes focused on Jesus for salvation is found in no other name?

Do you believe that Jesus is Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you hope in the Lord?

March 11, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

but those who hope in the Lord
      will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
      they will run and not grow weary,
      they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

It is so easy to focus on the physical when everything that we see and experience is the physical world. Lately, everything around us seems to be wars and rumors of wars. Evil is called good and good is called evil. Shortages and inflation are beginning to be the new normal. And, many experts, both Biblical and worldly, are saying that it is just going to get worse. I recently read and wrote briefly on the rising death rate among the group that we call the millenials. They see no hope in sight and choose to end their lives. I realize that no one has probably looked at the following passage from this perspective, but we are seeing this very thing happen.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
      and young men stumble and fall;
(Isaiah 40:30 (NIV))

It is amazing what a change of perspective can do. Their only hope was in the world because that is all that they knew. They had not placed their hope in the Lord. When you place your hope in the Lord, you see things from His perspective. You see things in a whole new light and the darkness of the world is only a passing thing. Placing your hope in the Lord allows you to not be overwhelmed by the problems in this world. We still see them, but we know that with the Lord’s help, we will soar on wings like eagles. We will be kept away from the eternal harm this is running rampant in the world. We will realize that the world is fleeting and that only eternity matters. Jesus gives us that hope of eternity with Him.

He will renew our strength!

He will give us power to do things in His name!

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

I recently heard someone talk about a concept that sounds interesting and may need to be investigated further. She stated that since the church age started with miracles and power at Pentecost, it would not surprise her to see the church age end in the same manner. If you stop to think about that concept, isn’t that what the Rapture would be?

I know one thing for certain.

No Jesus. No hope.
Know Jesus. Know hope!

Do you hope in the Lord?

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

October 14, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
(Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV))

In this world in which we live, this is a joyous message. The God of all creation has plans for each and every one of us. God wants to give us good things. He wants to prosper us. He wants to protect us from harm. He wants to give us hope.

Carefully consider what God has promised to each of us in this passage. The basic desires of humanity are met in these words. We all desire to be prosperous at what we do. We all desire to be kept from harm. We all desire to have hope for a better tomorrow for ourselves and our families. The words that God gave to us through Jeremiah touch each one of us at our innermost longings, desires and hopes.

God has given us an insight into ourselves and into His own heart through these words. He also gave us a glimpse into the ultimate hope through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. If we place our faith and hope in Jesus, God will prosper us. He will protect us. He will give us a hope and a future. It is true that God sent His Son, Jesus, so that we could have salvation from our sins, but Jesus also came for other reasons.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:7(NIV))

Don’t get me wrong. God’s sole purpose is not to be our personal wish fulfillment factory. He is not there to turn to when we want something. He is there to be our Father at all times. If we turn to Him as a loving Father and earnestly seek His face in all things, then He will prosper us just as He promised in Jeremiah.

Are you looking for God to prosper you or are you looking to God in all that you do? It is a matter of your heart.

What are your motives?

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