Humility is the first step!

January 27, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
(James 4:10 (NKJV))

God knows sinful human nature far too well.

I believe that the hardest thing for anyone to be is humble. Ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, it is simply just not in our nature. In fact, the fall was because we were not able to be humble when we were told that we could be just like God. Satan dangled the carrot, or should I say the knowledge of good and evil, and we took the bait. If Adam and Eve had simply realized that they were the creation and that they were not, nor could they be God, then things would have happened so much differently than we have been told in God’s Word. Instead of being humble, Adam and Eve let pride take control and that got them cast away from God’s presence.

If that is the case, doesn’t it make perfect sense that if we are able to be humble, then that could be reversed?

It takes humility to admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior! It takes humility to admit that you are not capable of being God, and it takes humility to admit that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. When you are capable of humbling yourself before God, He reverses what sin caused and He lifts you up into a relationship with Him, just like the relationship He had with Adam and Eve before the fall.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
(James 4:10 (NIV))

The English Standard Version translates that last part as “he will exalt you.” According to Merriam-Webster, when you are exalted, you are raised in rank, power, or character. You are elevated by praise or in esteem. Humanity was created to walk in fellowship with God. If you reflect on the Garden of Eden, it was not an angel who walked with them. It was God! Even the angels did not get this designation, this familial calling. If you humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, you will be exalted, you will be restored to God’s original plan. You will no longer be cast away because of your sin. In much the same way that the father embraced the prodigal son, our Father in heaven longs to embrace each of us when we humble return to Him!

Humility is the first step!

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How does Jesus know you?

January 26, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
(Matthew 15:20 (NIV))

With this statement from Jesus, nothing could be clearer!

That only leaves the obvious next question.

Are you doing the will of the Father?

This requires a complete surrender to the Lord and an understanding of what His Will is in order to answer truthfully. Perhaps it is better to ask if it is your desire to do the will of the Father, for even after professing a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you will falter in your walk of faith. You will inadvertently give in to your sinful human nature even though you desire to live a righteous life. Even Paul had these moments.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
(Romans 7:15-20 (NIV))

Do you truly desire to do the will of the Father?

If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you have realized that you are a sinner in need of a savior. You have realized that you are not capable of perfection in the eyes of God, but through Jesus, God sees you as He sees Jesus. He sees a spotless, sinless person. With that in mind, I venture to say that one of the most important parts of doing the will of the Father is accepting the grace and mercy that He freely offers through the cross of Jesus. Since God does not wish for anyone to perish, it is His will that you accept the grace and mercy given through 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.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

How does Jesus know you?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you forgotten how to follow this command?

January 24, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
(John 13:34 (NIV))

Let’s take a look at how Jesus loved when He walked this earth so that we can better understand how we are to love each other.

Jesus called people to repent, to turn from their selfish, sinful natures. He did this out of compassion for those caught in sin and the consequences of sin. He did not antagonize or mock sinners. He called to them out of a true love, a true desire to see them come to a saving knowledge of Him. He loved people because that is why He came!

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))

It is true that Jesus did get angry, but His anger was only manifested when God’s Temple was defiled or the religious leaders were making a mockery out of what God had intended. His anger was never focused on those whom He came to save. In fact, even in His anger, I think that it is safe to say that, just as a father’s heart breaks when his children misbehave, His heart broke for those who were doing the things that caused His anger.

Even in our darkest moments, He loves us!

Can we say that of each other? Can we love each other as Jesus loves us? Loving each other is part of loving God! It is part of our calling!

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
(1 John 4:20 (NIV))

Jesus has commanded that we love one another.

Have you forgotten how to follow this command?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Choose wisdom. Choose life!

January 23, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
(Matthew 7:13 (NIV))

If you haven’t figured this out, the narrow gate is Jesus. It also represents the wisdom to select Jesus and to stay focused on Jesus in all that you do!

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is thought to be a one time salvation occurrence. To be honest with you, accepting the salvation freely given through the cross is a one time occurrence, but it takes a lifetime of dedication to follow Jesus in all that you do. Too many people fail to grow in their faith. They fail to get to know the Word of God. They fail to realize that there is so much more that God wants them to know than Jesus saves. There is wisdom and truth in God’s Word that is designed to teach us how to walk in His light in all that we do.

Do you want that wisdom?

Do you want the wisdom that leads to righteousness and salvation? Do you want the wisdom that leads to a strong faith? Do you want the wisdom that leads to maturity in Christ? Do you want the wisdom that leads to life everlasting?

I don’t know about you, but all of these things are things are what I long for!

Have you taken a serious look at your life and your priorities? Do you long for the things of God or are you still so focused on the things of this world that you miss Jesus in all that you do?

The decision is entirely yours!

Choose wisdom. Choose life!

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you willing to answer the call?

January 19, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
(Matthew 9:38 (NIV))

Have you truly stopped and given this passage thought?

Let me explain my question.

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, we have been given instructions. We have been given a job assignment that is supposed to be our primary task as believers in Jesus.

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 28:19-20 (NIV))

In other words, we are supposed to be working the harvest field!

If we ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers, we are asking Him to send us! The most important question that we must then ask ourselves is how will we answer. Will we be as willing to go as Isaiah was?

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))

It is said that God loves a cheerful giver. That is true for so much more than just our finances. It involves our time! God longs for us to be willing to work the harvest field. He longs for us to tell others about the amazing grace that is available to anyone who will simply repent and receive. Are you willing to give of your time so that others may know of God’s great love? Are you willing to share the Gospel to a world desperately in need of salvation? Are you willing to work the harvest? Are you willing to put yourself out there in a world that is becoming more and more hateful of anything to do with the Gospel, with Jesus?

Are you willing to answer the call?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do your deeds glorify God?

January 11, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:16 (NIV))

How good are you at letting your light shine?

Let me rephrase that question and ask it like this.

Do others see Jesus in everything that you do?

Several years ago there was a big movement with WWJD – What Would Jesus Do? You would see wristbands and stickers and many other things with this prominently displayed. This did quite a lot in regard to reminding people how to act if they wanted to truly follow Jesus. I also think that this was also used by the enemy to trick believers into being submissive out of “love” when they saw something that was not right in the eyes of God. My favorite thing that I saw that someone created to clarify this statement reminded people that at one point Jesus fashioned a whip and turned over the tables of the money changers.

Does this sound like the type of “love” that the enemy has tricked us into believing about Jesus?

Jesus was compassionate toward the people lost in their sin as He encountered them, but He was also extremely passionate about the Father. He would never do anything that was contrary to what the Father instructed. He would never do anything contrary to God’s Word. His compassion for people, for us, was never to affirm them in their sin. It was to call them home to a loving Father. He was calling sinners to repent and return to the Father through Him!

With that in mind, I venture to say that there will be times when we are called to let our light shine and it will actually mean that we will be filled with the righteous passion for the Father and for His Word that made Jesus turn over tables.

Are you willing to take a stand for what is right in the eyes of the Father? Are you willing to make a public profession that you do not agree with the sinful practices that are being done? Sometimes shining your light means that you are to go into battle against the darkness and not simply try to make friends with it.

If Jesus said that only the Father is good, then in order to do good deeds, we must point people to the only one who is good. Our deeds must point to Jesus as the only way to the Father! That is how we glorify God.

Do your deeds glorify God?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you believe in the gift of God?

January 10, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

I don’t know about you, but that is one wage that I do not want to collect, and if you don’t repent, it is one that you will collect.

I realize that this statement is rather harsh, but if you stop to think about the consequences of not repenting and accepting Jesus, then this statement is actually sugar coated.

Let me take a step back and ask one important question. What do you think of when you think of death? If you only think of the cessation of the physical body, you are missing out on the eternal aspect and consequences of your existence. Humanity is not simply a physical creature. We are not simply a temporary physical existence with a spirit and soul. We are an eternal spirit and soul with a temporary physical body. We are only passing through this world. This world is not our home! With this in mind, there is another type of death that is far worse than physical death. There is an eternal death that the enemy wants you to not know about. He will do anything that he can to make you think that it isn’t real. He wants to destroy you, both body and soul, for he hates humanity.

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
(Matthew 10:28 (NIV))

If you have never heard this in this way, it may be time to pay attention. God doesn’t want any to perish, but that decision is your. He can’t make it for you. All that He can do, and has done, is offer a way for you to escape this death. He has provided a sinless, spotless sacrifice through Jesus to take all of the sin of everyone who has ever lived. All that you have to do is accept this great gift of amazing grace!

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
(Romans 6:18 (NIV))

All that you have to do is believe!

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))

I have one more very important question to ask.

Do you believe in the gift of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does your life currently look like?

January 5, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

What do you do when something gets old?

If you are like most people, you hold on to things until they are no longer of value. It is at this point that you decide to throw away the old things, the trash, and replace them with something new.

What happens when the old things have more value to you than is obvious from the current state of the objects?

Think about that last question in relation to antique cars that are lovingly restored. What about antique furniture or very rare musical instruments? In the eyes of the right person, even old, dilapidated things have value and are worth restoring to new condition. This is how our Father sees each of us. In His eyes, we are worth so much more than we are worth in our own eyes. He has freely given each of us a way to be restored. God’s plan for restoration does not leave us in our sinful, fallen state. All that we have to do to be restored is to accept the offer freely given through the cross of Jesus Christ!

Do you long to be a new creation?

It is as easy as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

If you can honestly profess this and claim it as your own, then you are a new creation in the eyes of God. The old has gone! The new is here!

What does your life currently look like?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Hold fast to Jesus no matter what may come!

January 3, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
(Hebrews 10:23 (NIV))

Whether you are following the events of the world in relationship to Bible prophecy, or you are simply uncertain about the coming year, there has never been a better time to keep your eyes on Jesus!

Answer honestly.

Do you have a feeling from within your spirit that tells you that something is not as it should be in the world?

It seems as if things have been increasing in frequency and in magnitude over the last several years. Some people have even implied that they are also converging and the date of the convergence is rapidly approaching.

Needless to say that if you have professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you recognize that human nature is sinful. You have also recognized that you, by the fact that you are human, are sinful and in need of a Savior.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

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

No matter whether prophecy is unfolding rapidly or slowly, Jesus is our only hope. No matter if we have abundance or are in need, Jesus is our only hope. No matter if the world sends us joy or pain, Jesus is our only hope. When we place our faith in Jesus, it doesn’t matter what may come in this world, for our hope is not of this world. Our hope is in the Lord God who created this world and in His Son Jesus who came into this world to give us this amazing hope that we now have!

Do you have this hope?

If not – Repent!

Run as fast as you can into the open arms of Jesus!

Hold fast to Jesus no matter what may come!

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Happy New Year!

December 29, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NIV))

Do you long for rest?

I long for true rest where all of my cares and worries are wiped away never to return!

Do you long for peace?

I long for true peace that passes all understanding.

I realize that these are difficult things to actually have, but I want to tell you that these, and so much more, can be yours if you simply place your faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Through Jesus, I have found true rest. Through Jesus, I have found true peace, and I can confidently claim that there is nothing better!

At the chance of sounding simplistic, which it is, all that you have to do is come to Jesus!

The world that we live in is falling further and further into a deprived, sinful state. Are you tired of the things that you see happening in the world? Does your heart break when you see the evil that permeates the thoughts and actions of those who are rebelling against God? Do you have a sense that society has lost its mind, and that what is good is now called evil and what is evil is now called good? You are not alone. More and more people are recognizing that God’s plans are unfolding right before us. We may not know the hour or the day, but we can recognize the season, and that season is upon us.

If you have not professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, do not wait another minute! It is time to make that profession of faith now!

No one knows what the future holds, but we can know who holds the future. Trust in the Lord and I can guarantee that your future will be an eternity with the Father in paradise! I can’t think of a better way to end a year and to start a new year than resting in the assurance that your eternity rests safely in the loving arms of Jesus!

Happy New Year!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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