How is your faith?

February 24, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
(John 14:12-14 (NIV))

Did these words hit you in the same way that they hit me?

Think about the concept that Jesus left us.

Those who have faith in Jesus will do what He did.

We will even do greater things than He did!

I don’t know about you, but I know myself all too well. I know what I have done. I know what I am capable of doing on my own, both good and bad. I know that I have good intentions, but the world always tries to slow me down or stop me. How can I do greater things than Jesus? How can I even do what Jesus did?

Do you find yourself thinking the same type of thoughts?

Faith is a funny thing. Without it, we have a tendency to say that we cannot achieve what we are called to do. When we take possession of a brand new faith, we think that we are able to do anything for God. As we “mature” in our faith, we seem to allow the world to creep back in and hold us back. Is this really a mature faith?

Take a look at the disciples. Take a look at John. Take a look at Paul. As each of these people matured in their faith, they grew bolder. They did not allow the world to hold them back. They went forward into the very heart of the battle for salvation. They did not back down. They did not slow down. They did not stop spreading the Gospel because it was not “politically correct.”

I honestly think that if we, the body of Christ, stood firm in our faith the way that the early church stood, then we could begin to say that with the power of the Holy Spirit within us, we are approaching the vision that Jesus had of those who have faith in Him. We could and should be doing what Jesus did.

And, since Jesus said it, I will stand firm on the words and say that we could and should be doing greater things than He did.

It is a matter of faith. It is a matter of a strong faith and not a sedate, “mature” faith.

How is your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Will the Lord know you?

February 5, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV))

Do you believe that it is acceptable in the eyes of God to profess a faith in Jesus and then be unwilling to give up your favorite sin?

Think about that in context of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus told her to leave her life of sin.

Think about that in context of the rich young ruler. Jesus told him to sell all he had and give everything to the poor and then follow Him. Jesus knew the rich man’s heart. He knew exactly the sin that the rich man wouldn’t give up.

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
(Luke 9:23 (NIV))

If we don’t deny ourselves the sins that we love and deny our sinful nature, then Jesus is going to deny us. We must sacrifice ourselves daily to what we desire and carry the cross that Jesus carried. He did what God called Him to do! We are to follow His example. At no point in His life did He sin, nor did He ever tell someone to continue sinning. If we are truly following Jesus, then we are truly spending time in His presence. We will desire to give up our sins. I realize that even the best of intentions will have pitfalls, but we are called to repent. We are called to change our lives to reflect Jesus in all that we do. We are called to be the light of the world, but not on our own. We are to reflect the light of Jesus. If we choose to cling to our sin, we are not filled with the light. It is a choice. We can choose Jesus or we can choose sin.

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
(Matthew 6:24 (NKJV))

I chose this translation for this passage due to the use of the word “mammon.” It means riches. You cannot serve the riches of this world, whether they are money, lust or power, and still serve God. We must make a decision to walk away from our sins and follow Jesus. We will slip. We will falter, but if we seek forgiveness for these slips, and continue to strive to follow Jesus, then the Lord sees our heart. If we refuse to give up our sins, the Lord sees this as well. He cannot save someone who is unwilling to be saved.

If you realize that God cannot associate with sin and you aren’t willing to give up your sin, the resulting conclusion is obvious.

Will the Lord know you?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you celebrated your heavenly Father’s compassion?

June 17, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
(Psalms 103:13 (NIV))

As everyone reminisces about their fathers and the importance that they have played in your lives, there is one question that I need to ask. Did you stop to give thanks to your heavenly Father for all of the things that He has done for you in your life?

Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 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 7:9-11 (NIV))

Please don’t misunderstand my intentions. We are to honor our fathers, but we have a heavenly Father who is also Father to our earthly fathers. We should give thanks to God our Father for all that has been done for each of us as well as for each of our ancestors. Our heavenly Father loves with limitless love. He loves with a compassion that we are not able to comprehend. As we celebrate our fathers, we must not forget the love, compassion and mercy that is ours from our heavenly Father through the gift of His Son, Jesus.

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
    extol him who rides on the clouds;
    rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
    is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families,
    he leads out the prisoners with singing;
    but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
(Psalms 68:4-6 (NIV))

Have you celebrated your heavenly Father’s compassion?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you cheerfully sowing into God’s kingdom?

June 10, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
(2 Corinthians 9:6-7 (NIV))

Giving is a difficult thing to do sometimes, especially when you are facing hard times.

Has your giving changed recently? Have you cut back on the money that you give to your church and to other organizations? Have you found yourself thinking that “Just this once I’ll not give” only to find yourself with a knot in the pit of your stomach? Have you stopped giving of your time because you are using your time in efforts to bring in more money? Has your attitude changed about what God has given you and will give you?

We are all creatures of habit. No matter what our intentions may be, we often find ourselves responding as the world responds. We look upon the worldly situation as the only situation that will provide for our needs. When things turn bad, we quickly find ourselves forgetting what God has promised. We worry.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV))

Have you ever stopped to reflect upon the fact that God uses us to bless others? What you give will bless someone, who in turn will bless someone else. What you give will return to you in ways that only God can imagine. Are you cheerfully sowing into God’s kingdom?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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That is my prayer for each of us, including myself!

May 21, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
(Psalms 139:23-24 (NIV))

As I read this passage, I had to stop and pray that my desires are the same as the ones professed by the Psalmist.

It is so easy to simply give “lip service” to God professing to desire what He desires for us. All too often, even under the best of intentions, we get carried away by the ways of the world and we simply forget to seek God in an earnest and sincere way. We get so involved in the daily details that are trivial in nature that we forget to seek after the things in our lives that are eternal in nature.

One hundred years from now, will it matter if you got that promotion at work? Will it matter if you were a member of that elite club that you just have to be a part of? Will it matter if your house is the biggest one in town?

There is only one thing that will matter in one hundred years!

I don’t want anyone to look back and realize that the one thing that truly mattered, they overlooked.

What is that one thing?

It can literally change your perspective on eternity.

Have you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? Have you earnestly sought after God’s own heart and realized that He is leading you to the saving grace that is only yours through the atoning blood of Jesus? That is the way that is everlasting. Allow God to search you and to lead you to the saving grace that He has freely given to all who will simply receive.

For those who have accepted this grace, allow God to search your heart and lead you away from any offensive way. That is my prayer for each of us, including myself!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are your eyes open to see the harvest in front of you?

January 29, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Do you not say, `Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.
(John 4:35 (NIV))

Every member of the Body of Christ is guilty of this in one form or another. We pray that God will use us to further His kingdom. When we pray this, we expect it to come at some point in the future and to be a great service that we can offer up to God. Our intentions are good, yet, we miss the opportunities that God places in our very presence each and every day because we have our eyes focused on a “grand” mission at some point in the future.

We need to open our eyes and see the opportunities that God has already placed in our midst. He is trying to use us where we are and we are ignoring it because we have focused on what we think we should be doing. When this happens, we miss out on the opportunities that God really desires to use us in.

This bring to mind the parable of the talents. The opportunities that God places in front of us are the talents that He has entrusted to us. If we use those talents wisely, He will give us more. In other words, we must open our eyes and trust God where we are and not where we want Him to take us. If we can’t trust Him where we are, what makes you think that He is willing to trust us where we want to be?

Are your eyes open to see the harvest in front of you?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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The prophets foretold of His coming!

December 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
(Isaiah 42:6-7 (NIV))

The words written in Isaiah hundreds of years before His birth pretty much summarize God’s plans for Jesus. These and many other words written by the prophets all tell of the coming of Jesus and every prophecy about His first coming was fulfilled at His coming.

I have read various different counts about prophecies that pointed to Jesus, and no matter what count is presented, every single one of them came true during the birth, life, crucifixion or resurrection of Jesus. I realize that there are always skeptics and doubters who will say that the prophecies are vague and can be interpreted in different ways. When I think of this, I remember the fact that you will find what you are looking for. In other words, if your heart is hardened to Jesus, then nothing will sway you. You will find room for argument in any proof that is presented to you. If that is you, it is my prayer that your heart be softened before it is too late!

This time of year is a wondrous time for it is when the Body of Christ celebrates the birth of Jesus. It is the time when we choose to remember God’s plan unfolding through the birth of a little baby. It was not the beginning of the plan. God had it planned long ago. In fact, He even told us how it would happen. He declares His intentions long before they begin to unfold.

Declare what is to be, present it—
let them take counsel together.
Who foretold this long ago,
who declared it from the distant past?
Was it not I, the Lord?
And there is no God apart from me,
a righteous God and a Savior;
there is none but me.
(Isaiah 45:21 (NIV))

God always tells us what He is going to do before He does it. For over two thousand years people have been rejoicing because He sent His Son to this world to fulfill the promises given.

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))

How do we know that Jesus is His one and only Son?

The prophets foretold of His coming!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you commit to be a new creation in the new year?

January 2, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
(2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV))

Did you make any resolutions for this new year?

Most of us have the best of intentions when we make resolutions, but how many of us actually follow through with them? We all have made the resolutions to lose weight, find a new job, find love, or to start exercising, but how many of us actually make a resolution to be a better follower, a better disciple, of Jesus?

Is that a resolution that we can all get behind? Can we commit to seeing this resolution through?

Can we do the things that are required to be a better disciple of Jesus? Can we spend time in God’s Word on a daily basis? Can we spend time in prayer on a daily basis? Can we slow down our hectic lives and spend time in God’s presence? Can we make a commitment to get to know the Creator of all things?

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

Can we make a commitment to spend five minutes a day, each and every day, getting to know the Creator of all things? I would venture to say that you will soon find that five minute commitment growing into more. You will find yourself building a relationship, and as the relationship grows, so will your understanding.

Are you ready to be still, to cease striving, and spend time with God in the new year?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Don’t lose sight of God’s grace and accept a lie

March 20, 2013

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.” This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.
(Revelation 14:9-12 (NIV))

This may sound strange, but do you trust technology?

Perhaps I should word that question differently.

Do you trust technology to be used for good and truthful reasons?

It all comes down to a matter of trust in the motives and intentions of other people and in the unseen events in the physical and the spiritual realms.

Most of us like our cell phones with built-in GPS and the convenience of using credit or debit cards to make purchases. What would you think if a major electronics manufacturer introduced a device that would never leave your body and you could make purchases or be located by anyone no matter where you may be? Would you stand in a long line to buy this latest gadget?

What if you were forced to take this gadget?

Would you?

What is the difference?

Free will!

Do you freely accept it when it is promoted as the latest and greatest way to do things?

I want you to think about this concept and then think about who will be marking people on their forehead or on the hand. Satan is the father of all lies. What better way to get people to accept his “mark” than to “market” it as the latest and greatest way to track your medical history, to make purchases or to simply “streamline” your life? Just imagine the key marketing points. You will never have to worry about losing your wallet ever again. You will never have to worry about being robbed again. You will never have to worry about being somewhere and your medical history is not available in an emergency. You won’t have to worry about your loved ones, because you can always know where they are.

On the surface, all of this does have some market appeal, but to the wise consumer, it is filled with red flags that should alert someone to avoid this.

What does this mean to the Body of Christ?

We must test everything against God’s Word, no matter how beneficial it may seem. The old saying that “It’s too good to be true” is sound advice, especially when you consider the father of all lies. Satan wants to deceive you. He has a course of action. He wants to keep as many people as he possibly can from receiving the grace and mercy freely given through the Blood of Jesus.

Don’t lose sight of God’s grace and accept a lie.

Copyright 1998 – 2013 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Would you be convicted?

June 19, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

You shall not murder.
(Exodus 20:13 (NIV))

You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, `Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, `Raca, ‘ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, `You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
(Matthew 5:21-22(NIV))

God clearly defined for us that to take another life is a sin, yet, how many times have we said things in anger that could convict us just the same? We may have learned to put up a front to society and to ourselves, yet, our thoughts can be just as sinful, if not more so, than our actual actions.

Sin is a matter of the heart. A heart that longs to do the Will of God will still sin, but it will not be as sinful as someone who does not long to be like God. Their thoughts will focus on God and the things that are righteous in nature. Someone who does not focus on God focuses on themselves. I have heard it said that sin has as its basis the human desire to be at the center of all things. Sin focuses on “me” and what “I” can get from things quickly. It is this type of an attitude that makes a person’s thoughts stray from what God would have you think about. “Me” turns to anger and anger into actions. The only difference is the physical act, yet, the heart still had the very same intentions. Perhaps it is the intention that convicts us of our sins.

What thoughts have you had recently? Would you be convicted?

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