This is the one test that you need to pass!

June 14, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless, of course, you fail the test?
(2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV))

This is one of those verses that most people wish that they could ignore!

No one likes to fail a test. Think about the implications of this concept of failing this test. This is not the only place where we hear that it is possible to fail in your faith. We are told that it is possible to do things in the name of Jesus, but not have a relationship with Jesus, to not have Jesus in your heart.

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 7:22-23 (NIV))

This goes hand in hand with the truth that you cannot earn salvation.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV))

We must also come to the realization that there is a difference between doing work for the Lord and truly knowing the Lord. I can demonstrate this concept with a simple question about the people with whom you work. You may spend eight hours a day with them, but do you know their inner most secrets and desires? Do you know the pains that they feel and what causes them pain and what causes them joy? Doing work around the Lord does not draw you close to the Lord in exactly the same way as working with someone does not bring you close to them. That requires effort and intimacy that cannot be had when you are constantly doing.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
(Luke 10:38-42 (NIV))

We must choose Jesus in all things in order to grow in intimacy with Jesus. The closer you draw to the Lord, the stronger your faith becomes. As your faith grows, your belief grows as well. When you believe and truly know the Lord, you desire to do things that will draw others to Him. These are the works that matter, for they are done out of a love of Jesus and not out of an effort to impress Jesus. It is a matter of perspective and priorities.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they 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 Father may be glorified in the Son.
(John 14:12-13 (NIV))

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.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

God does truly love the world! Have you allowed that love to permeate your life so that your life reflects the love of the Lord and not you?

This is the one test that you need to pass!

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are your steps firm?

May 26, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.
(Psalms 37:23-24 (NIV))

I have two questions for you.

Do you delight in the Lord and lift up His name in joy and thanksgiving?

Have you ever faced a situation where you did not see any logical way for you to come through it unscathed? You just knew that the outcome was not going to be pretty!

I just love how if your answer to the first question is yes, it will lead to a successful outcome for the situations described in the second question.

When you delight in the Lord, He delights in you! Think about this from the viewpoint of an earthly father with multiple children. He loves all of his children, but the ones who seek to bring joy to their father are the ones who make the father the happiest. He loves them all, but if any are aloof, they don’t have the intimacy with the father and the father is saddened by this. How can he guide them if they will not come to him? Does this sound familiar? Does this help to paint a picture of how the Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him? Could it be due to the desire to be close to the Lord? When you draw close, you begin to know the very heart of the Lord, and when you know the very heart of the Lord, you begin to walk where He leads.

When you were young, did you ever walk with your father and hold his hand? You relied on the guidance, the strength and the stability to help you make it to your destination. You followed where he led. You might have stumbled, but you never fell. You were firmly holding onto your father’s hand! Because you relied on the guidance, the strength and the stability of your father, you were confident in your steps. There was a firm and bold faith in your steps. Walking with the Lord should be just the same. Step out boldly and firmly in faith as you hold your Father’s hand!

Are your steps firm?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you seek shelter and rest?

April 19, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
(Psalms 91:1 (NIV))

It is so interesting how the different translations will render a particular passage.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
(Psalm 91:1 (NKJV))

These two translations mean the same thing, but they use different words that when looked at together, strengthen the understanding of the meaning of the passage. The NIV translation uses the word “shelter” while the NKJV uses the words “secret place” when referring to the place where we draw close to God. Shelter implies a place of refuge and safety while a secret place implies intimacy with the one that you meet. I love the marriage of these two concepts and how they actually apply to the place where we meet God on a one on one basis. That place is a shelter and a refuge from the weight of the world and at the same time it is a place of intimacy with the Creator of all things.

We draw closer to God while He draws closer to us.

I also love how the NIV uses the word “rest” while the NKJV uses the word “abide” to describe what we do in the presence of God. Both words imply a trust and a peace, for it is impossible to rest where there is no trust or peace. It is also impossible to abide, or to make yourself at home, where there is no trust or peace.

In essence, we can find shelter in the secret place that we share with God and in this place we can find rest and a home!

Do you want to dwell in the secret place, in the shelter that is our God?

God wants us to dwell with Him. He wants us to be so comfortable in His presence just like we are comfortable in our own homes and with our friends and family. He wants us to go to Him when we need to retreat to our secret place.

Where is your secret place?

Is it in the shelter of the Most High?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to share more than God’s Word?

March 15, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.
(1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NIV))

Have you ever met someone who wanted to tell you about Jesus, but didn’t want anything else to do with you?

Have you ever been that person?

What would Paul think about those actions? Would he say that these types of actions are Christ like? What if we took that one step further and asked if this is what Jesus had in mind when he told us to go and make disciples of all the world? Do you honestly think that Jesus meant for us to tell people about Him without sharing our lives and telling them about what He has done in our lives?

Think about that for a moment.

Are there things in your life that you have been through that you could use as a witnessing tool to people who are going through something similar?

Everyone has experiences and life events that have meaning and have had an impact in our lives. It is these very events that have made us who we are. Do you think that Paul never told people about his Damascus Road experience? Do you think that Paul never told how he was transformed from Saul into Paul?

God created humanity to share an intimacy with Him. That intimacy, even though it was lost, can be restored by accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. That intimacy that has been restored is meant to be shared with others in such a way that it allows them to see Jesus in you. If you aren’t willing to share of yourself, are you truly following Jesus?

Are you willing to share more than God’s Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t wait to answer God’s call!

January 6, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

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

In this world in which we live, it is so easy to find something to place as your priority, as your god. We see it all around us. People are hungry for an intimacy and they try to feed that hunger with whatever they choose. Some people will try to feed the hunger with fame. Some with power and some with fortune. Others will try to feed the hunger with things such as sex, drugs, and alcohol.

The thought came to mind that the worst of us will choose to feed the hunger with multiple carnal pleasures, but then I realized that for those who are lost, everyone is in the same boat. There is no worst or best of a sinful nature. We are all simply caught up in the lies of the enemy. Lies that are designed to keep our focus on what is directly in front of us and off of the source of all things good. We focus on the things that we place as our personal gods while we miss out on the blessings that are ours from the one true God.

I often wonder what we look like from a spiritual perspective? Do we look like the proverbial rat in a maze, always scurrying along looking for the morsels that will be our next reward? I honestly think that the enemy tries to keep us in that mindset so that he can keep us from the intimacy that God desires with each of us.

No matter what we do in life, anything that we place as a priority requires that we focus on that one thing. We have to take the time to learn, to grow and to mature in our understanding of our priority.

This is exactly what we should be doing with out relationship with our God and Father!

I want you to think back on some of your favorite “older” relatives when you were growing up. What made them your favorites? I would safely wager that it was the fact that you took the time to spend time with them. You got to know them. You got to know what they liked and what they didn’t like. It might have been something as simple as sitting with them on a front porch swing watching the world pass by. If you are like me, those memories are some of the most endearing memories that you have, and it all comes down to one simple reality. You took the time to stop your life and sit with someone else and truly get to know them.

That is exactly what God is calling us to do!

Don’t wait to answer God’s call!

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you profess an intimacy with God?

June 2, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you know it completely, O LORD.
(Psalms 139:1-4 (NIV))

Do you think that God knows you?

I can hear people saying something like “Of course He knows me. He’s God. He knows everything.”

Does He really know you?

Do you really know Him?

What I am talking about is a familiarity, a personal relationship in which two people are aware of the inner-most aspects of the other.

Do you know God in this manner?

Have you allowed God to know you in this manner or are there things that you hide from Him?

Professing a faith that Jesus is your personal Lord and Savior is one thing, but having a relationship that is truly personal is another. This type of relationship allows intimacy and understanding.

Can you claim the words of David as your own? Can you profess an intimacy with God?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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