We must persevere as the race unfolds!

May 10, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
(Hebrews 12:1 (NIV))

How has the last year or so been for you?

I could probably stop there and say something about keeping your eyes focused on Jesus, but I feel that there is so much more to say about being able to persevere. With all of the things that have happened in the last year, and all of the things that continue to happen, we must not lose sight of where our hope comes from. With prices soaring for basic materials and supplies can’t keep up with the demands, we appear to be facing the beginning of shortages. Now we are facing cyber attacks that threaten to bring us to a halt because oil and gas cannot flow. I honestly believe that things are going to get much worse than most people expect.

How does society handle this?

How do we, as the Body of Christ, handle this?

If ever there was a time to throw off everything that hinders, I believe that time is now. If ever there was a time to repent of the sin that entangles us, that time is now. We need to make sure that our lives are singularly focused on Jesus and not the world. If we look to the world, we will faint out of fear. If we look to Jesus, we can rest assured that He is our hope, that He is our strength, and that He is our strong tower!

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.
(Proverbs 18:10 (NKJV))

We can’t claim righteousness if we cling to things that hinder and to the sin that entangles us. We can only claim righteousness if we accept the gift of grace that was freely given at the cross. We must repent! We must persevere in our faith. We must hold fast to the promises that we have been given through Jesus.

No one knows what tomorrow will bring, but we can have a good understanding of what is to come by staying in God’s Word. We must be as diligent as watchmen. We must be constantly on guard for what the enemy is doing. We must not fall for the lies and the traps of the enemy. We must be alert and prepared. We must come together as the Body of Christ and hold fast to Jesus like never before!

We must persevere as the race unfolds!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

May 4, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 (NIV))

Are any of us truly able to do these three things?

Some of us may be good at one of these three, but it is a rare individual who can honestly do all three on a regular basis.

We have all known the individual who was always joyful, hopeful and optimistic. We have all known people who, no matter what hardships come their way, they patiently move in the same direction without complaining. We also have all known people who are powerful prayer warriors and will willingly petition the Lord on any occasion.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
(Philippians 4:12 (NIV))

Am I the only one who sees all of these characteristics in Paul?

Take a look at his life after his Damascus Road experience. From the writings that we have, we see that he was always joyful and hopeful, even in the midst of troubles. We see that he was patient in his afflictions. His writings tell us that he was willing to face affliction if it meant that the Gospel would be spread as a result. We also see from his writing that he was always praying for those whom he had discipled and he was always praying for the Gospel to be made known among the nonbelievers.

What made Paul this unique individual that seems to have possessed all three characteristics and lived them out to the glory of the Lord?

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
(Philippians 4:13 (NIV))

In other words, Paul kept his eyes on Jesus! He knew where his strength came from. He knew that as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he would be guided to live out these characteristics and so much more.

When do you lose joy?

When do you lose hope?

When do you lose patience?

When do you fail to be faithful in prayer?

If you are like me, the answer to all of these questions is the same. All of these happen when we fail to keep our eyes on Jesus. We fail to look to Him. We fail to rely on His strength. We fail to surrender authority to the name that we profess as having all power and authority. If we keep our eyes on Jesus, He is our joy. He is our hope. He is our patience and He is our faithfulness.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you hopeful and confident in your faith?

April 26, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
(John 14:3 (NIV))

Every believer clings to this verse!

Have you ever stopped to contemplate why we cling to this verse? I am certain that each of us have our own reasons, but everything truly comes down to how we view God and how we view this world. I honestly believe that we cling to this verse because we don’t like the sinful, fallen nature of the world in which we find ourselves living. We cling to this verse because we despise the fact that God’s goodness is called evil and what God calls evil is called good. We cling to this verse because we long for His righteousness to prevail over this fallen world. We cling to this verse because we long to be in the presence of the Lord! In just a few words, God has given us so much to reflect upon and so much to rejoice about.

These words are filled with a promise that we can trust.

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))

These words solidify in our minds the greatness of God’s love for us by providing details of how that love will manifest itself for all of eternity.

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))

Perhaps the biggest aspect of this verse is the unbridled hope that it gives the person who professes a belief in Jesus, and from that hope, faith matures!

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

In essence, if there is no hope, then confidence cannot develop. If there is no confidence, then faith cannot grow. Without hope, we are lost!

Jesus planted hope with these words. He gave us the confidence of His promises, and He instilled in each believer the seed of faith with the promise to prepare a place for those who believe. He didn’t stop there. He took it to the next level by proclaiming that He would return for those whom He has prepared a place! These few words give us a reason to persevere in the face of adversity. They give us a reason to face the world even when the world seems to be targeting us and has us directly in its cross hairs. These words help us to remember the power and the promise that Jesus spoke for those who believe.

With the events of this world, it seems that the enemy is doing his best to destroy the hope of everyone, but in particular, he wants to destroy the hope of those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. We must not lose the hope that we have through Jesus, for if we lose the hope that makes us confident, then faith is also lost. When the world is getting you down, look up! Look up and imagine the place that Jesus is preparing for you. Look up and pray for strength to continue to be faithful. Look up and pray to continue to be confident. Look up in hope!

Are you hopeful and confident in your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It may look dark, but hope is coming!

April 2, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
(Matthew 27:31 (NIV))

The events of the long night and morning were over. Jesus had been arrested, beaten, falsely accused and judged, and then sentenced to die a horrible death. The only thing left of God’s plan was the actual crucifixion. Think on those events as you read this, for many will be reading it at the time of day that things actually unfolded.

How are you spending your morning? Is it filled with reverence and thanks for what Jesus endured? As you pour yourself another cup of coffee, does the impact of Jesus’ suffering bring you to tears or do you even think of it at all? As you head to that meeting, do you reflect upon just how things would be if Jesus had not had His meetings with Pontius Pilate? When you feel the burdens of the day come crashing in around you, do you stop to think of the burden that Jesus bore as He carried His cross?

It is so easy to get lost in the trivial details of our own lives. We think that they are so important. We think that if we don’t close that next big sale, the world will fall apart. We think that if our children don’t get into that private school, their lives are over. All that we bear is the burdens and sins from our own lives. Imagine having the weight of the sins of the world hoisted upon you. Imagine the world being so engrossed in the usual activities that your sacrifice becomes trivialized. Imagine taking on the burden anyway because you love the people of the world.

Stop to think just what Jesus went through so that you can have grace and salvation. Retrace His steps as He carries His cross to Calvary. Put yourself in His place as the nails pierced His hands. Imagine how He felt looking down through history as He looked upon you at this very moment in time. He suffered and died for you and I. He did it willingly so that we may have grace and mercy.

Spend the day embracing His sacrifice, feeling His pain and emotions. Look upon your life as He looked upon it. Jesus felt that His sacrifice was worth everything that He endured. He felt that you and I were worth whatever price He had to pay.

Today, Good Friday, stop and thank God for His Son, Jesus, and His willingness to go to the cross for you and I. This day is a day of agony and fear, but through the fear we have a shining ray of hope – the resurrection on Easter morning!

It may look dark, but hope is coming!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready to receive His righteousness?

March 30, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
(2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV))

In just a few days, we, as the Body of Christ, will be celebrating the event that proves that Jesus is who He said He was. No other person in all of history faced such a horrible death, was buried and then arose from the grave on the third day. In addition to this, He ascended into heaven in front of a group of witnesses.

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
(Acts 1:7-9 (NIV))

I love the truth of the resurrection. I love the hope of promises. Still, I believe that we need to focus our attention on the words recorded that give us assurance that He will return.

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
(Acts 1:10-11 (NIV))

The resurrection means so much more than Jesus arose from the grave. It means that He has the power over sin and death. It means that He has the authority to save us from our sins. And best of all, it means that He will return for those who profess a faith in Him.

It is as easy as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

Are you ready to receive His righteousness?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you prepared to give an answer?

March 11, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
(1 Peter 3:15 (NIV))

Do you know why you have the hope that you have?

Can you put your hope into words in such a way that you can answer people when they ask you why you believe in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

Sadly, most people simply are not able to share their personal story with others. They know it in their heart, but too many have a complete disconnect from the heart to the mind. Since most people have a tendency to over think things, they simply cannot string together the words that match what they know to be true.

Does this sound like you?

Is this why you don’t share the Gospel?

Perhaps it is time to stop and pray for wisdom as to what you can and will say. Each of us have a testimony. Our testimony is what the Lord will use to reach others. If we can’t put our testimony into words, no one is being reached. I realize that it is said that actions speak louder than words, but we need to be able to follow up our actions with words that shine the light on Jesus as the only way to salvation. We can’t rely on others to do this for us.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV))

We can’t make disciples if we can’t give an answer.

Are you prepared to give an answer?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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The King of glory is coming!

January 15, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Lift up your heads, you gates;
     be lifted up, you ancient doors,
     that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
     The Lord strong and mighty,
     the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
     lift them up, you ancient doors,
     that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory?
     The Lord Almighty—
     he is the King of glory.
(Psalms 24:7-10 (NIV))

Are you looking up?

Or, are you acting like the rest of the world and looking down because you have lost all hope and you see no end in sight?

Is that the correct attitude for someone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior? Is that the correct attitude for someone who has direct access to the throne room of God? If we have this hope, this access, and this assurance, then why are we downcast? Why do we hang our heads in desperation?

We have been told that when things look bad we are to look up!

We may not be able to know the day and the hour, but we can know the season. We must lift our heads and lift our eyes in anticipation of the fulfillment of His promises. Are you waiting? Are you looking?

The King of glory is coming!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you experienced His light dawning in your life?

December 30, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
      for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
(Psalms 112:4 (NIV))

How would you classify the current year as it is quickly coming to a close?

If you are like most people, I am sure that you will say that it has been something extremely out of the ordinary.

Everyone in the world has been inundated with panic, shortages and quarantine just to skim the surface. It has definitely been an interesting and, dare I say, a dark period of time. Large cities look as if they are desolate. Whole countries are on lock down, and worldwide social and political strife seems to be the normal modus operandi for the last several months. On the surface, things are not looking good.

But,…

Has you faith increased?

Have you found renewed hope?

Do you still find joy in the the simple things of life?

Have you become closer to your family?

Have you drawn closer to the Lord?

I have heard many people say that they feel that God is using this time in history to draw people into a closer relationship with Him. Many of the distractions are no longer an option. The hectic pace of our lives has slowed considerably, and this has allowed people to search for meaning. Many people are turning to God’s Word and turning to prayer.

Have you found a renewed desire to draw closer to the Lord?

Have you experienced His light dawning in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is your heart in the right place?

December 3, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

I’ve referenced this passage on many occasions, but it has been haunting me the last few days.

I’ve been looking at the current state of the world and my selfish side was longing for the things that I would love to be able to do again, like take my lovely wife on a long vacation. I would love to do this without the ever-present panic mode that has the whole world under various different phases of lock-down. To be honest with you, I have found my mind to be in a fog, in a state of disillusionment, because I was beginning to feel defeated and my hope was fading.

I know that I am not the only one who has been feeling this way because of the very unusual events of this year. I think that I can safely say that a large number of people, even believers, have felt this way at some point during this year.

What do you do when the weight of the world comes crashing in on you? It is human nature to give in to the pressures, to the stress, and slip into a state of mind that does not honor the Lord. What do you do to bring yourself back to Jesus when this happens? Each person is different. Each person who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior has a unique relationship with the Lord. Each of us have a special something that God uses to get our attention. It is this special something, whether it is a Scripture passage, a song, or a sunset, that God uses to reach out to you to bring you back to Himself.

I want you to be able to focus on this aspect of your relationship with the Lord and make this your treasure. Nobody knows what the future may hold. The enemy is doing everything that he can to crush the faith of believers. No matter what may come, each of us must be able to focus on the personal treasure that is the Lord. We must make sure that our hearts belong to Him, for that is the only place that they belong!

Is your heart in the right place?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How is your strength?

November 13, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He gives strength to the weary
     and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
     and young men stumble and fall;
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 40:29-31 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but I am weary in my own strength. I don’t have the ability to face the world on my own. I am tired! Perhaps I could even go so far as saying that I am exhausted.

The world in which we live has become so polarized. People rage against anything and everything that God considers good. They openly embrace anything that God considers evil. They mock anyone who clings to the sole source of truth. They censor the name of Jesus who is the source of this truth because they don’t want to offend those who do evil. They don’t want to offend the enemy!

Do you understand why I am weary?

I, like every single person who has ever lived, do not have the strength to face the enemy on my own. Thankfully I can turn to the ultimate source of strength. I can rely on the strength of someone much greater than I. I can rely on the strength of my Lord and Savior. I can rely on the strength of my God! With this strength, I have the ability to face whatever the world may send my way. I have the strength to face whatever the enemy may send my way.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
     my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
     and with my song I praise him.
(Psalms 28:7 (NIV))

He gives us strength by letting us rest in His presence. He gives us strength when we need shelter from the world. He gives us strength by equipping us with His truth. He gives us strength when we are still. When we desire to live out His truth, He fights the battles.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
(Exodus 14:14 (NIV))

When you are on the side of the Lord, that should be enough to give you the strength to overcome the weariness caused by the evil in the world!

How is your strength?

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