What do you have?

January 5, 2018

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.
(1 John 2:23 (NIV))

What do you do when you hear people say that they don’t need Jesus to be close to God? Do you agree with them or does your heart break over their reluctance to accept the truth?

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

Why do people still reject Jesus? Honestly, I believe that this is the same mentality that makes people reach out and touch the wall when they see a “Wet Paint” sign. They simply cannot accept things at face value. They believe that God would not limit how someone can come to Him. They don’t want to accept the simplicity of God’s plan. You can show them the truth but they refuse to believe. They refuse to accept what is right in front of them. They refuse to recognize the fallacy in their thinking. I started to use the word reasoning instead of the word thinking, but if you truly reason, if you truly apply all aspects of your intellect, then your conclusions would be completely different.

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
(Isaiah 1:18 (NKJV))

Perhaps you are on the fence about accepting or denying Jesus.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
(Romans 8:1 (NIV))

Accepting Jesus means that there is no condemnation!

What do you have?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you surrendered in your mind?

April 11, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).
(John 19:17 (NIV))

I just love the way that God works in symbolism!

As we approach Easter and the resurrection, we must remember that in order for Jesus to be resurrected, He first had to die. He had to go willingly to the place of the Skull to die to himself so that God’s plan could be fulfilled.

Isn’t it interesting how we, before we can embrace the resurrection, must also go to our own place of the skull. We must be willing to die to our reasoning and intellect and follow solely on faith. We must accept something that makes absolutely no worldly sense. We must die to our inability to believe in something without seeing it. We must die to our own place of the skull.

It is amazing how God will work in us and through us once we have willingly laid ourselves at the foot of the cross once we surrender our own place of the skull.

We are now ready to fully embrace the resurrection and the grace and mercy that it brings. This knowledge has not only transformed our minds, it is now ready to transform our lives. It can now travel the longest distance known to humanity – the eighteen inches from our mind to our heart – and truly have an impact on us.

Have you died to your place of the skull?

Have you fully embraced the resurrection?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you accept the hard teachings?

July 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
(John 6:60 (NIV))

We don’t have the market cornered today on not being able to accept some of the teachings of Jesus. Many of those who heard the words straight from Jesus had much difficulty with many of the teachings. Why should we think that we would be any different?

In any classroom or subject of study, there will always be certain concepts that are more difficult than others to understand, accept and apply. This is true no matter what the subject, whether it is algebra, philosophy, medicine, or religion. Each subject has concepts that are easily grasped and applied, and at the same time, each subject has concepts that are difficult to grasp and apply. If everything were easily mastered, we would not have the satisfaction of a job well done when we do master a particularly difficult task.

The same is true of the things that Jesus taught us. Some things we can accept and apply almost instantly, while others we would prefer to ignore. We must not ignore the difficult teachings. It is these teachings that help to mature us in our faith. Perhaps it is also a maturation of our intellect as well, for the wisdom that comes from mastery will often lead us to understand and apply even more difficult teachings.

It is human nature to want to shun the difficult. We often take the path of least resistance. What do we get for this lack of effort? We do not get what God wants us to get. The next time that our human nature takes over and we want to ignore the hard teachings, we must remind ourselves of the nature of God’s Word.

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

Are you open to the hard teachings?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you died to your place of the skull?

March 25, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).
(John 19:17 (NIV))

I just love the way that God works in symbolism!

As we celebrate Easter and the resurrection, we must remember that in order for Jesus to be resurrected, He first had to die. He had to go willingly to the place of the Skull to die to himself so that God’s plan could be fulfilled.

Isn’t it interesting how we, before we can embrace the resurrection, must also go to our own place of the skull. We must be willing to die to our reasoning and intellect and follow solely on faith. We must accept something that makes absolutely no worldly sense. We must die to our inability to believe in something without seeing it. We must die to our own place of the skull.

It is amazing how God will work in us and through us once we have willingly laid ourselves at the foot of the cross once we surrender our own place of the skull.

We are now ready to fully embrace the resurrection and the grace and mercy that it brings. This knowledge has not only transformed our minds, it is now ready to transform our lives. It can now travel the longest distance known to humanity – the eighteen inches from our mind to our heart – and truly have an impact on us.

Have you died to your place of the skull?

Have you fully embraced the resurrection?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Subscribe to daily email delivery


Do you understand and obey?

March 14, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds so they will understand them, and I will write them on their hearts so they will obey them. I will be their God, and they will be my people!
(Hebrews 8:10 (NLT))

I love the way the New Living Translation phrases this passage.

We are used to reading it translated something like the following.

This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people
(Hebrews 8:10 (NIV)

No matter how we are used to reading it, the meaning should not be lost on the reader. We are to think about God’s laws and reflect on their meaning. We are to strive to understand them with our intellect. We are to reflect upon what God is telling us with each passage that we read and not just simply read the words. There is more meaning in God’s Word than mere words. There is a reason that it is called the Living Word. If we study and reflect upon it, then God will use this reflection and study to teach us more about Himself. He will open up the same passage with more meaning as our maturity in Him increases. As our maturity increases through study, another aspect comes into play.

God’s Word makes the move from our minds to our hearts.

We begin to not only understand, we also begin to obey. We find ourselves longing to do the things that God wants. We find ourselves not only intellectually understanding. We find ourselves transformed by that understanding to the point where we actually apply it to our lives. We obey not out of fear, but out of a desire to seek righteousness.

Do you have a favorite translation that you read and study? For me, my favorite is the New International Version, but I find hidden gems of truth in every translation. Some translations, such as the New Living Translation, add wording that does not go against the intent or change the context, but it expands on the meaning and adds insight. I don’t know how many times that I have read Hebrews 8:10, and I know the intent of the words, but sometimes I need to be hit right between the eyes with what God is saying. I would venture to say that I am not alone in this. Sometimes we all need to be hit over the head with the proverbial 2×4 so that we recognize the truth behind what we profess to believe.

Do you understand and obey?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you call man’s wisdom?

December 2, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made them all look foolish and has shown their wisdom to be useless nonsense.
(1 Corinthians 1:20 (NLT))

Useless nonsense!

Does this sound like anything you have seen or heard lately?

I honestly think that humanity has gotten lost in the vicious cycle of intellect. If you think about our college systems and the degrees that you can receive – Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate – it has been said that you learn more and more about less and less. You start off with a fairly broad study, then with the next degree, you narrow the focus. You finally narrow the focus so much that you learn as much as you can about such a narrow topic that you know almost nothing about anything else. Ironically, it seems that our society then looks to these people who have focused on such a narrow aspect of knowledge as the wiz-kids of all knowledge. We then have people who are so totally inept at anything that resembles an overall big picture giving our society directions on everything.

I realize that there are always exceptions to this rule, but it seems like our society has become so fixated on this type of knowledge that we tend to ignore what is truly important. It is this type of knowledge that has caused people to believe that humanity is capable of doing anything, It is this type of knowledge that makes people think that we are our own moral compass. It is this type of knowledge that tells us that a person’s usefulness is gone when they are 75 years old.

“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))

What happens to people when we focus so much on what we can comprehend? We use logic to make ourselves believe that there is no higher authority than us. We use this false logic to make all kinds of bad decisions and we call it wisdom.

God calls it useless nonsense!

What good does it do if we can circle the world with technology and we ignore the Creator of the world? What good does it do if we can build huge cities but lose the compassion to reach the people who live there? What good does it do if we can have hundreds of “friends” and never know them or share the Gospel with them?

What do you call man’s wisdom?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Praise the LORD

June 14, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
(Psalms 150:6 (NIV))

Do we truly understand the simple truth of these words?

All of creation praises God in all that it is, yet, our intellect often keeps us from doing what God designed us to do. We are to praise Him in all things.

What happens when we fail at this?

Jesus told us exactly what would happen.

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
(Luke 19:40 (NIV))

What happens when a nation does not praise God?

Another nation or nations will be found that will shout out His praises!

This is exactly what happened when Israel rejected their Messiah when He first came. Because of this, we, the “stones” have been given the opportunity to praise Him.

Unfortunately, some of the “stones” are also keeping quiet. We must not let this happen. We must be ever thankful of the gift of grace and mercy that we have been given. We must shout it with every breath!

Sometimes actions speak louder than words. We can shout with our actions.

No matter how we choose to praise God, we must never lose sight of the truth that He deserves all glory, honor and praise.

How do you praise God?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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