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.
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How are you at waiting?

October 12, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
     and in his word I put my hope.
(Psalms 130:5 (NIV))

Do you have patience?

Let me rephrase that last statement.

Have you grown tired of waiting for the Lord?

That sounds awfully harsh, but if you stop to think about it, we are all guilty of that very thing. We have grown to expect instantaneous rewards and solutions to our problems. We have become expectant of the fast food type of response from anyone and everyone in our lives.

Think back on the stories from the Bible. Did any of them have an instantaneous answer from God? Did Abraham become the father of many nations overnight? Did David become the king of Israel when God selected him from among his brothers? Did Noah go out and buy a boat the day that he heard God tell him it was going to rain? Did Moses lead the Israelites our of Egypt the day he returned from the desert? We all know these answers, yet we have grown to expect much more than these fathers of our faith ever would have imagined. We must take a lesson from these very people and take these words to heart.

Be still, and know that I am God
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

To know God is to trust in Him. To know God is to place all of your hope in Him. We must be willing to go the distance with God and not grow tired of waiting for Him. I know that we are only human and at times, we will grow weary in our patience. The key is to realize that He is maturing us and those around us so that we may know His fullness. We must realize that we are not waiting for Him. On the contrary, He is waiting for us!

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

I am so very thankful that God has waited for me!

How are you at waiting?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Never leave your first love!

July 27, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
(Revelation 2:4 (NKJV))

The church at Ephesus did many things right, but it all came collapsing down with this single statement!

Have you ever wondered what they had left? Have you ever thought that they simply got in a routine of doing things that were righteous, but forgot the reasons behind why they did them? They did good works. They labored for the sake of the Gospel. They had learned patience and they hated evil. They could even spot false apostles, but what good did it do them if they had left their first love? They had forgotten the love of Jesus and without that love, everything is meaningless. They had faith. They had hope, but they no longer had love!

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV))

Without love, you soon find yourself focusing on the letter of the law and not the intent. The Pharisees focused on the letter of the law. Jesus came to show that God’s intent was love. In essence, when you lose love, you become a Pharisee, and you insist on telling others what to do while not doing it yourself. You create a double standard in which you judge others but seek grace for yourself. This is completely contrary to what Jesus taught.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
(Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV))

We are to love each other as we love ourselves!

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
(1 Peter 4:8 (NIV))

It was out of love that Jesus came into the world. It was out of love that He taught. It was out of love that He went to the cross. His love covers all of our sins. What we are called to do is love others in such a way that they are covered in Christ! If you have forgotten how to love, then it is time to follow through on what Jesus told the church at Ephesus.

Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.
(Revelation 2:5 (NKJV))

Never leave your first love!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Hope, joy and peace come from trusting the Lord!

July 22, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 15:13 (NIV))

With the current state of the world, we need hope. We need joy, and we need peace!

Can you imagine how people who don’t profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are coping with what we have been facing? Even members of the Body of Christ can sometimes begin to feel the weight of the world crashing down on us, and we have the hope we have been given through Jesus to cling to! Can you imagine the weight that others are feeling when they have no hope to cling to?

We are all familiar with the often used saying that when things are looking down, look up. To be honest with you, I see more and more people boldly proclaiming their faith through social media than I have ever seen. It may just be the algorithms that are used, but it appears that over fifty percent of what I see is people sharing faith based content. I take this as an indication that people are spending more time in God’s Word and are clinging to the truth that it contains. People are looking up! Or, should I say that they are looking down into the pages of their Bibles? Can we take this as a sign that people are lifting their hearts and their hands to heaven? Can we take this as a sign the people are lifting up prayers to the Lord?

For those of us who cling to the promises that are “yes” in Jesus, we have hope. We have joy, and we have peace. We also have an assignment!

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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 28:18-20 (NIV))

And, the harvest fields are ripe to hear the Gospel!

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:8 (NIV))

There has never been a better time to share the Gospel of Jesus. The time may be short and for those who don’t trust in the Lord, we may be the only people who will share. We must tell them the truth!

Hope, joy and peace come from trusting the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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He is our one true hope!

July 16, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
      Why so disturbed within me?
   Put your hope in God,
      for I will yet praise him,
      my Savior and my God.
(Psalms 43:5 (NIV))

It seems that people turn to God in times of trouble, only to turn away when things begin to get better. Think back a few years ago to the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Churches were filled with people praying. Where did they all go? Why are they still not there? It seems that when tragedy hits, people realize that they are not in control, but arrogance soon takes over once things begin to return to normal. People tend to forget God in the good times.

I find it interesting that the psalmist wrote about what seems to be the opposite scenario. He praised God during the good times, thanking Him for all that He has done. When things begin to go less than desirably, he wanted to grovel. He was depressed. He was sad. It sounds like he almost turned away from God. He wanted to forget God in the bad times.

Both scenarios are common place. We are an arrogant, yet fickle creation. We have been blessed with individuality, but sometimes that can be our biggest problem. Don’t get me wrong. God created us to be individuals. He created each of us to be unique in all of creation. He cherishes our individuality. It is through this individuality that we each must learn to earnestly seek God, even when we feel like turning from Him. We need to make it an every day occurrence and not just at the times in our lives that are contrary to our natures. For some, this is when we lose control. For others, it is when things are going good. Perhaps it is simply a matter of our personality, but regardless of how God created us, we are to praise Him in all things.

Carefully consider how long a marriage would last if one person only turned to the other for just a few days a month. Now, consider your relationship with God through Jesus. Do you turn to God in much the same manner?

Do you praise God at all times for being your Savior and your God?

He is our one true hope!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must not lose hope in the Lord!

June 24, 2021

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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 has your strength been recently?

I could probably stop with just those words and you can fill in your own issues that you see in the world and in your life. Let’s face it. Every single person alive is caught up in the middle of the events that have affected the whole world.

Financial crises.
Political upheaval.
Race riots.
Wars and rumors of wars.
The global pandemic.
Good being called evil and evil being called good.

Do I need to list anything else?

I honestly do not understand how anyone who doesn’t profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior makes it through each day when more and more is added to the already huge list of troubles. Those who do call upon the name of the Lord have a promise that we can rely upon to give us strength even in the midst of troubles.

“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 are told that troubles will increase as the time gets closer for the events spoken of in Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation. As we see things unfolding, we must remember to never lose sight of the Lord. We must remember to never lose hope in the Lord, for all of His promises are “Yes!” When the world sees trouble, we must see hope. We must renew our strength as we find shelter in His presence and in His strength. When we rely on His strength, we can face anything. We can run and not grow weary. We can walk and not be faint, and best of all, we can soar above the troubles of the world.

We must not lose hope in the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Has your strength been renewed?

May 26, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:31 (NIV))

With all that is going on in the world, I cling to these words!

If you focus on the events of the world, it is so easy to lose hope and once you have lost hope, the next step is to simply give up. As believers, we know better than that. We have a Savior who has overcome the world! We can rely on the promise recorded by John in these words.

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))

There is a saying that when things look down, we are to look up. We look up for that is where Jesus is. He is our hope. He is our strength. He is our salvation. We are to turn our eyes to Him and renew our strength. Our hope and our strength are not based on some far off promise by someone who does not have the authority to keep that promise. It is based on the authority of the Creator of all things.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
(John 1:1-3 (NIV))

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, He is all that we need and with Him and through Him we will overcome anything that the world may send our way.

Do you need strength?

Turn to Jesus!

Do you need to soar above the troubles?

Turn to Jesus!

Do you need rest because you are weary and faint?

Turn to Jesus!

Has your strength been renewed?

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

May 25, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:16 (ESV))

How confident are you of your salvation?

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

Such confidence we have through Christ before God.
(2 Corinthians 3:4 (NIV))

The early church leaders knew that we should be confident in our faith. Those who wrote these words had either seen Jesus or they knew those who had witnessed the events that we now cling to as strategic moments of faith. They had witnessed the miracles and were confident in what they saw. They had witnessed the severity of the scourging and the crucifixion and were then completely overwhelmed by the resurrection! They had witnessed the ascension and were given the promise that He would return the same way He left.

Think about that for a moment.

If you had witnessed someone beaten so badly that he was not identifiable after the beating and then they were killed by crucifixion, how confident would you be that the person was dead? If you heard that he was buried, yet was alive again, would you question your confidence in what you had witnessed? What if you met that person and he spoke to you about the things that you had done together, would you be confident that it was the same person? What if that person showed you the scars? How confident would you be that this person had died, was buried and then rose again? If you had witnessed these things first hand, you would not be able to keep quiet about what you saw and what you know. You would proclaim it with complete confidence.

That is exactly what the disciples and the early church leaders did! They were so full of confidence that they told everyone the good news of Jesus.

Sometimes I think that we, as the modern church, have lost our confidence. We read the words and we watch reenactments, but do we truly comprehend what happened? If we did, I feel that we would be doing what the disciples and the early church leaders were doing. We would be telling everyone about Jesus. I feel that we couldn’t be made to be quiet. Even the threat of persecution or death would not detract from what we boldly and confidently proclaimed.

Take a serious look at your faith. Do you believe without any doubt? Do you fully understand what you profess to believe?

Are you confident in your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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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.
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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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