Are you willing to have this done in you?

May 13, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
(John 15:2 (ESV))

Let’s face facts. We don’t like change, especially if it takes us outside of our comfort zones. Even when dealing with things in our lives that we know need to be addressed, we would rather simply ignore them instead of dealing with them. It is just human nature.

That is not how God works.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
     neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
     so are my ways higher than your ways
     and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

We like to hold onto our sins. God calls us to let them go.

We like to hide our sins. God calls us to confess them.

We like to embrace our sins. God calls us to embrace Him.

In essence, God calls us to accept the gift of salvation freely offered through the cross. Through this gift, He is calling us to allow our sins to be removed from our lives and replaced with His righteousness. I don’t know about you, but I like His ways far more than I like my ways. I long to freely surrender what needs to be taken away and to allow other areas to be pruned. I long to bear so much more fruit according to His will.

Are you willing to have this done in you?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does it overwhelm you?

April 15, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
(Matthew 26:38 (NIV))

I hope that this puts the crucifixion into a more realistic context. Over the years, the church has so whitewashed this event that I honestly do not think that we realize just how excruciatingly painful and traumatic it was, even if the one going to the cross is the Son of God. We subconsciously think that because He was fully God that the pain and the fear were somehow less traumatic for the human aspects of Jesus. I have heard that people had speculated that He was able to disconnect from what He was going through, but this passage clearly indicates that this was not the case.

In order for God to forgive our sins, there had to be a man to live a perfect, sinless life. In order for God to forgive our sins, that perfect man had to willingly die in our place as a payment for our sins. We are familiar with God’s plan of salvation, but I want to emphasize one crucial word, one crucial aspect.

Man!

In order for God’s plan to be legally binding according to His Laws, the one who died for our sins had to be fully man. Jesus had to set aside his deity and fully embrace all of the sin, all of the pain, and all of the trauma of the crucifixion. He made a choice to be fully human, including all of the fear and all of the sorrow, as He faced the events of the crucifixion.

He did not take the easy way out! He did not abandon His fully human side in order to avoid the pain and the sorrow.

He bore all of our sin.

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))

To use a theater term, Jesus never broke character. He was fully God who came to the world to be fully man, and He did just that even to death on the cross!

Have you ever tried to put yourself into His shoes? Have you ever taken a very realistic look at all that Jesus faced so that He could be the sacrificial lamb that saves us from our sins?

It overwhelmed Jesus. Does it overwhelm you?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you overwhelmed by His love for us?

December 2, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Who, being in very nature God,
     did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
     by taking the very nature of a servant,
     being made in human likeness.
(Philippians 2:6-7 (NIV))

Is it in your nature to submit to someone? Is it in your nature to willingly be a servant to others?

Human nature is a strange thing. We are fraught with anxiety, fear, distrust, pride, and so many other characteristics that don’t allow us to willingly submit, to willingly be a servant. Each of us are focused on three people: me, myself and I. It is true that some of us are better at hiding it than others, but even the so-called best of us are guilty of trying to elevate ourselves over anyone and everyone that we can. Sadly, we inherited these characteristics from the father of lies because of the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. It is that same fall from grace that separated us from God. It is that fall from grace that made us like satan in that we long to be in authority of others.

That was not God’s plan!

He created us to be in intimate fellowship with Himself and with others. Ever since the Garden of Eden, God has unfolded a plan to restore us to that relationship, that intimate fellowship. He did something that we can’t fathom because of our ego and pride. He sent His Son, Jesus, to be one of us. The God of creation came into His creation not as God, but as a man. He came into this world as a servant. He came to show us how to live. He came to show us how to relate to each other. He came to show us how to relate to Himself, and He came to do what was required to bring restoration to a sinful humanity.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
(Luke 19:10 (NIV))

It takes a servant’s heart to do what Jesus did. Could you give up your comfort, your security, and your position to go into a location that didn’t know you and didn’t recognize you? Could you give up your life to reach those to whom you went? Perhaps you would have simply sent someone else to do it for you? Think about who Jesus is and what He did.

Are you overwhelmed by His love for us?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you forever thankful to the Lord?

November 30, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
(Psalms 136:1 (NIV))

Just how long is forever?

To be honest with you, I actually don’t think that the human mind can truly understand that concept, especially when you consider our limited vantage point. Our minds think back to our days in school when we were watching the clock and impatiently waiting for the end of the day. It seemed like it took forever! Perhaps you remember Christmas Eve as a child. It seemed like the night would never end. With these and other examples that you may have in mind, we have a tendency to look at the concept of forever as a period of time that we must endure. We don’t usually think of forever as a joyous time.

Is that how God sees forever? Is that how God sees us in relationship to forever?

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
(2 Peter 3:8 (NIV))

If this is the way that God sees time, then His concept of forever is so very different from how we see forever. If God’s love endures forever, then He has loved us from the beginning of time, if there is such a thing, and He will continue to love us to what our frail human minds call the end of time. In all honesty, the concept of the end of time is a human construct because we can’t truly grasp eternity. All that we can truly understand is that the Lord never changes.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

If His love endures forever, then His love for us never changes and that is the best thing that anyone can ever experience.

If God loves us this much, how do we express our gratitude?

Are you forever thankful to the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Share the good news!

October 23, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
(Romans 8:1-2 (NIV))

Do you obey the law?

Do you always drive the speed limit? Do you ever throw something from your car? Do you sometimes cross busy streets in places other than the crosswalks? If you do any of these, then you do not obey the laws one hundred percent of the time.

If you are ever caught doing any of these things, then there will be a penalty to pay.

Do you obey God’s laws?

Have you ever murdered? Probably not.

Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vain? Many of us probably have done so out of frustration or anger.

Have you ever committed adultery? Hopefully not.

Have you ever stolen anything? Probably. Even an ink pen on accident could be considered stealing. It did not belong to you and you left with it.

What type of penalties would you expect for any of these breaches of God’s law?

Think of the worst possible penalty that could be paid and that is exactly what Jesus paid on the cross for each of us. He willingly paid the penalty for all of the things that we have done or ever will do. He paid the price for the law of sin and death so that we could claim freedom from its hold on us. Through Jesus, we can claim that our penalties have been paid in full. All that we have to do is accept this grace and mercy.

We will still slip up and break God’s laws just like we break human laws, but we can be forgiven for these transgressions. It is a matter of the heart. We must long to do what God desires us to do. If this is our true heart, then God will see and forgive through the atoning blood of Jesus.

We are free from the law of sin and death! Share the good news!

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

September 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
(Romans 8:6-7 (NIV))

In case you were thinking this, no, it is not possible to be governed by both!

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
(Matthew 6:24 (NIV))

Before I am accused of mixing scripture passages and meanings, it is important to understand that the love of money serves the flesh. It is the ultimate worldly and fleshly control on the human mind. It is the embodiment of lust, power and ego. When your mind is governed by the things of this physical world, it seeks carnal satisfaction. It seeks sin!

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

We must strive to overcome human nature and focus on Jesus. We must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. When we falter, and we will, we must recognize our failures, repent and return to the Lord. We must desire to possess true peace as only it can be found in the Lord.

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

We have all seen what happens in this world when government is bad. People suffer. We have also seen what happens in this world when government tries to do what is righteous in the eyes of God. We have our own personal election each and every moment of every day. We can choose to be governed by the flesh and suffer the consequences, or we can choose to be governed by the Spirit and find peace.

How is your mind governed?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you a member of God’s household?

August 31, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,
(Ephesians 2:19 (NIV))

Think about this passage for a moment.

When darkness falls and the doors to the home are locked, who remains inside the home when the homeowner turns out the lights? Who relies on the head of the household to provide security and rest?

I don’t know about you, but I have never seen someone who had the lives of family and friends under the safety of their roof leave doors unlocked so that the enemy could attack. By professing a faith in Jesus, we have been welcomed into the household of God. We have been given not only grace and mercy. We have been given a home that is far more secure than anything we can ever imagine. This world is not our home! We must never forget that we are only passing through on our way to a place that the Lord has prepared for us. We are to be citizens of heaven and we are to be called children of God. Human nature is sinful, but most of us love and provide for our children. How much more will the Lord do for us?

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
(Matthew 7:11 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to truly think about what actually happens when we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior? I realize that there is so much more, but the symbolism of these are represented very eloquently in Ephesians 2:19.

We trade being foreigners and strangers with God to being His children.

We trade being children of sin to being foreigners and strangers to the sinful world.

With all that is happening in this world, we must remember to not be a stranger to God. Are you a member of God’s household?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Does your life support your claims?

August 21, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
(1 John 2:6 (NIV))

Did you just get blind sided by this passage?

Think about that question in relationship to how Jesus reacted to situations and how you react to similar situations. Perhaps that saying from a few years ago holds more merit than we gave it credit for.

WWJD?

What would Jesus do?

His reactions ran the gamut, but one thing was consistent. Jesus always responded based on God’s Word and not on human emotions. We have been given instructions on how we are to live in order to follow His example.

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:13-26 (NIV))

In essence, if we claim to be followers of Jesus, then we must strive to follow His life. The very fact that Jesus came to walk among us in order to save us shows the great love that the Lord has for us. Jesus did not do anything contrary to what the Spirit instructed, even to the point of dying on the cross. We know beyond doubt that Jesus walked this world as a perfect example of what the fruit of the Spirit is to look like. If we claim to follow Jesus and our lives do not reflect these traits, then we must repent and refocus our lives so that they do.

Does your life support your claims?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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If you believe, tell someone!

July 8, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
(Romans 10:10 (NIV))

If you had invented something that would truly benefit every single person who ever lived, would you keep it bottled up inside and never share it with anyone? You would shout it from the mountain tops. You would be so full of enthusiastic energy that everyone you meet would be told about your invention and how much that they need it. That is human nature. If you ignore the sinful nature of human pride, most of us would still share this kind of situation just because we want others to be as happy and fulfilled as we are. We have a tendency to want to share good news with anyone and everyone who will listen.

Why are so many of us afraid to share our faith with others?

Think about that in context of the previous questions. Jesus is far greater than anything else that we could ever share, yet, most of us don’t share our faith at all. We claim that it is a personal matter. We claim that we believe, yet we aren’t willing to tell anyone what we believe or why we believe it.

We aren’t willing to profess with our mouths!

If you are reading this, I can probably make the safe assumption that you believe in Jesus in your heart. That is fantastic, but have you told your friends? Have you told your family? Have you told those you work with? Have you verbally pronounced that you have placed your faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? Think about your answer in context with the last half of Romans 10:10. Have you fulfilled this part of your salvation? Have you made a public proclamation?

If you have good news, it is human nature to want to share it. What better news is there than this?

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))

I can’t think of better news that the whole world needs to hear!

If you believe, tell someone!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you bold enough to proclaim the name of Jesus?

June 30, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus is
“‘the stone you builders rejected,
      which has become the cornerstone.’
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
(Acts 4:11-12 (NIV))

Can you imagine the boldness that it took for Peter to proclaim these words to the Sanhedrin?

Can you imagine the shock that the members of the Sanhedrin felt when they heard these words? From their human perspective, I fully understand why they told Peter and John not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. They were the authority and they did not want their authority to be replaced with the authority and power that Jesus gives!

I have two questions for each of us to consider.

Would we boldly proclaim Jesus under these type of conditions?

Would we resort to an unsuccessful attempt to stifle the power of Jesus?

The reason that I ask these two questions is based on the current events and trends in this world. If we are pulled in front of a governing body and given an ultimatum to not speak or teach in the name of Jesus, would we stand firm or would we surrender? What if we are told we will be killed if we don’t stop speaking and teaching in the name of Jesus?

If the tide turns further away from good and toward evil, will we be able to stand firm or will we give in to the point where we find ourselves telling others to not speak or teach in the name of Jesus?

How strong is your faith?

How firmly will you stand? Will you deny Jesus?

But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 10:33 (NKJV))

Are you bold enough to proclaim the name of Jesus?

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