What do you find is on your mind?

January 26, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 (NIV))

If ever there was a time to take these words to heart, that time is now. With all that is going on in the world, we need to focus, we must focus, on what the Lord calls true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. We must focus on things that are contrary to what the world tells us are important. We are at the time, and I honestly believe that we have been there for a while, when good is called evil and evil is called good. In fact, I just saw a news report that claims a European country has now labeled quoting Bible passages as hate speech.

Does that surprise you?

Do you think that things will get better in this world?

Do you think that you are safe because of where you live?

Take a look around you. What do you see? Is it anything like what you remember when you were much younger? Is it anything like what you remember from just a few short years ago? Do things appear to be rapidly accelerating with the impending end result that professing a faith in Jesus finds you being persecuted and possibly executed? This is happening in many countries. We think that it can’t happen where we live, but did we think that we would be where we are just a few short years ago?

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

This world is in a mess. If you study God’s Word, you know how it ends. Personally, I never thought that what I am seeing unfold right before me would have happened in my lifetime. It is time to focus on Jesus. He is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV))

We have a promise that no matter what we may face in this world, the peace of God will guard our hearts if we focus on Jesus.

What do you find is on your mind?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does your spiritual diet consist of?

January 19, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!
(Hebrews 5:12 (NIV))

How long have you professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? Do you measure that amount of time in days, weeks, months, years, or decades? Based on these two questions, are you on solid spiritual food yet? If not, at what point will you be able to sink your spiritual teeth into the solid food of faith? Are you mature enough in your faith to be able to teach others what you know about Jesus, or do you still rely on a one hour session once a week for all that you do know? Do you dive deeper into God’s Word on a daily basis, or do you simply listen to what someone else tells you once a week?

It is possible to be a sixty year old milk-fed infant. It is also possible to be a sixteen year old who feasts on the solid substance and depth of your relationship with Jesus.

If someone has professed a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, they are on a journey that leads them to maturity in their faith in Jesus. Each day should see their spiritual diet mature in substance and understanding. We are called to share this understanding, this good news, with those whom we see. We are called to share the Gospel, but if we are still on spiritual milk, how can we share with confidence and clarity. It takes a maturity to be able to share the Gospel and to teach.

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.
(Matthew 28:19-20a (NIV))

What are the key words from this passage?

Go. Make. Disciples. Baptizing. Teaching.

How can we go if we are not mature in our faith? How can we make disciples if we are not mature in our faith? How can we baptize if we are not mature in our faith. How can we teach if we still need spiritual milk? We must wean ourselves off of the milk and fully embrace the solid spiritual truths that are fulfilled in and through Jesus.

What does your spiritual diet consist of?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Run the race!

January 14, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
(Hebrews 12:1 (NIV))

How do you see your walk of faith?

Is it a leisurely stroll through life where you can stop and indulge in whatever you may encounter along the way, and then you end up where you end up without any direction? Is it a random chance of circumstances that lead you to your destination? Do you even have a destination in mind? If you have a destination, how do you plan on arriving there? Do you have a course? Do you have a plan that will bring you closer to that destination each day of your life?

If you have professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then your destination should be maturity in Him. Each day you must focus on following Jesus in all that He desires for you and of you. Professing a faith in Jesus does not mean that the rest of your life will be easy. It does mean that He will walk with you and help you to overcome the troubles in this world. Let’s face the facts, you can’t run a race if you are hindered in any way. The same is also true of our walk of faith with Jesus. It is the worldly troubles and the sin that hinders us in our faith journey. Focus on Jesus and these things that once were so prominent in your field of vision, in your life, will grow strangely dim as Jesus becomes clearer and clearer.

I love how Paul used the race analogy to explain our walk of faith. Running a race requires self-discipline. Running a race requires commitment. Running a race requires daily preparation and training. Running a race requires us to be unhindered so that we can run. Running a race requires us to go the distance. Running a race requires us to keep our eyes on the finish. Running a race requires that we do not become distracted. Running a race requires that we follow the course marked out before us. Running a race requires that we want to finish the course well. Jesus is that course!

It is my prayer that we keep our eyes on Jesus and that we finish well.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
(2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV))

Do you desire to be able to make this claim?

Run the race!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you one in Christ?

January 13, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3:28 (NIV))

How do you see yourself?

How do you think the world sees you?

Based on this passage, how do you think the Lord sees you?

Out of these three questions, which one really matters in the final outcome? We can see ourselves as invaluable, but the Lord knows our value. He died on the cross because we are of value to Him. The world can see us as invaluable, but, again, the Lord knows our value. The world weighs us down, but He has overcome the world.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

In essence, when you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, all of your past sins are washed white as snow. He sees us as His. He sees us as someone worthy of saving. It doesn’t matter what your background may be, He loves you. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, He loves you. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, He loves you. There is an invitation to all who will come, but you must respond. What is your response?

Are you ready to put your past behind you and walk into the light?

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.

Are you one in Christ?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you invited Jesus to be part of your gatherings?

January 11, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
(Matthew 18:20 (NIV))

Do you love to gather in His name?

Most of us think of church when we think about this, but why do we limit our fellowship with Jesus to the walls of a church building? Why don’t we invite Jesus to be with us when we gather socially with friends or family? Why don’t we invite Jesus to be with us when it is only our immediate family and we are at home? We need to get in the habit of asking Jesus to be in our midst at all times, and not just when we gather at a church. One day, we may find that such a gathering is no longer an option. We must take responsibility for our relationship with Jesus and with others. We should never simply rely on a local church to spoon-feed us our weekly dose of spirituality. We need Jesus each and every moment of each and every day!

We know that a time is coming when the antichrist will target anyone who will not worship him. We know that a time is coming where people will face death if they profess a faith in Jesus. If we are part of that generation that will see this unfold, we must be prepared to rely on Jesus. We must be prepared to stand firm in our faith even if we can only gather with a few other believers. We must truly understand what it means to gather in His name!

Can you pray powerful and effective prayers? Can you offer encouragement in the face of adversity? Can you discern truth and call evil exactly what it is? Can you focus on eternity when all around you is falling apart? Can you keep your eyes focused on Jesus?

Only God knows what tomorrow may bring. If His plan unfolds in our lifetimes, and we have to rely on other believers, will you be ready to invite Jesus into your midst even if you are in chains? I realize that this sounds doom and gloom, but we must remember that we are told that it will happen. We are also told that those who persevere will be given a crown. We know who wins.

Have you invited Jesus to be part of your gatherings?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you alert and fully sober?

January 7, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.
(1 Peter 1:13 (NIV))

Are you looking for Jesus?

In other words, are you alert and fully sober in spite of what the world says that we should be? Think about that for a moment.

What do you spend your time thinking about? What does your bank account say about your priorities? What do your entertainment choices say about your relationship with the world? What does your time spent in God’s Word say about your relationship with the Lord? What does your computer or phone time say about your focus, and what does your attitude say about you as a person?

I could go on and on, but it is obvious that if you are human, you fall short of God’s idea of righteousness. Even if you have professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, there is always room for improvement, for maturity in your faith. We are called to be holy, but even on our best day, we fall short!

Perhaps our definition of being holy has been polluted by the world. Too many people think of a self-righteous attitude when asked about being holy. I sometimes wonder if there is God’s holiness, which is perfect, and our attempt at being holy, which is flawed drastically by our sinful, fallen nature. We can’t seem to get it right. We are not capable of anything more than a failed attempt at fulfilling our interpretation of God’s ideal holiness. Enter Jesus! He paved a way for us to exchange our filthy rags for His righteousness, His holiness. Through this action, and our acceptance, we can be considered holy, especially when you consider that one way to look at that word is that it means to be set apart.

Are you set apart?

Do you desire to follow Jesus? If you truly desire to follow Jesus, then you are set apart. You have made a proclamation that you no longer wish to live a sinful, fallen life. You have made a proclamation of faith that you will follow Jesus. Will you be able to walk this path perfectly? Will you keep your eyes focused on Jesus? It is a matter of attitude. It is a matter of priorities. Do you wish to be set apart from the world? I long to follow Jesus. Even on my worst days, I still long to focus on Jesus. There is a quote going around in today’s society that sums it up quite nicely.

I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God.

If we can make this commitment, then we are alert and fully sober. We have a hope beyond what this world can offer. We have placed our faith and our hope in Jesus. We deliberately set ourselves apart and faithfully look for His coming. We can decide to be set apart!

Are you alert and fully sober?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Happy New Year to those who desire to overcome!

December 31, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33 (NIV))

Are you at peace with what is going on in the world?

What does your answer tell you about your relationship with Jesus?

I realize that we are only human and we live in the physical world, but if we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then we do not truly live here. This world is not our home. We are only passing through. Our true home is an eternity spent with Jesus!

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
(John 14:2-3 (NIV))

Let me present a question for your consideration.

If you were on a journey to get home and you saw terrible thing along the way, would you forget that you were going home and focus on the troubles along the way?

Sadly, that is what too many people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior end up doing. We focus on the troubles in this world and lose our focus on Jesus. It is true that we do have to live in this world, but we must remember that what we see unfolding is all part of God’s plan. As such, we must keep our eyes focused on Jesus, for when we focus on Jesus all the troubles of this world seem to fade away.

As we face the upcoming new year, it is my prayer that each of us can keep our focus where it should be.

Happy New Year to those who desire to overcome!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you fully embraced the new thing that God has done?

December 30, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

See, I am doing a new thing!
      Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
      and streams in the wasteland.
(Isaiah 43:19 (NIV))

What is your attitude on change?

Do you like things to stay the status quo? Are you comfortable when you know exactly what is happening each day? Are you the kind of person who has everything planned out and you make sure that everything goes according to your plan? What if the status quo is bad? What if we are trapped in a sinful cycle that self perpetuates the more that we try to stay the course, to maintain the status quo?

Ever since the fall from grace, humanity has been trapped in a sinful cycle and everything that God did to show us what to do seemed to fall on deaf ears. He would make a covenant with us and we would break it. He would raise up a remnant and make them the ones who inherited the covenant only to find that they eventually broke it again. This happened more times than we probably care to admit. All of this was done to show us that we are not capable of His righteousness due to our sinful, fallen nature.

God had to do something new!

He sent His Son, Jesus, to walk among us, to teach us, and to die for us so that our sins could be washed away. This would have not been complete without the final step. He had to defeat the power of death! He had to be resurrected from the grave.

I, even I, am he who blots out
      your transgressions, for my own sake,
      and remembers your sins no more.
(Isaiah 43:25 (NIV))

As we face another uncertain new year, remember the new thing that God has done. Remember the love that He has for us. Remember the power that overcame sin and death at the cross. Remember Jesus!

Have you fully embraced the new thing that God has done?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is time to come to Jesus!

December 29, 2021

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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))

There is never a bad time to turn to the Lord, but now is the best time if you haven’t already accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior!

With all that is going on in the world, turn to Jesus!

Are you weary and burdened because of evil being called good and good being called evil? Are you overwhelmed by the never-ending variants and lock downs? Are you uncertain about your income? Are you concerned about the shortages that just don’t seem to go away?

No one knows what the future will bring, but, as followers of Jesus, we know who holds the future. We have been given insight into what will transpire in the end of days and it looks all to similar to the things that we have been seeing and are seeing unfold right before our eyes. A line from a song by the Atlanta Rhythm Section comes to mind. “The world is in an uproar and I see no end in sight” is very fitting at this time in history. If you look to the world, then you will be in an uproar, but if you look to Jesus, you will have peace and rest no matter what the world may send your way.

Do you long for rest?

The world has false hopes that a new year will bring about better days, but without turning to Jesus, the world will still be in an ever increasing uproar until the time comes when Jesus returns for His Bride, His church! Once that happens, what we are experiencing today will seem like a walk in the park.

The only way to insure that you will have a happy new year is to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior today!

It is time to come to Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you treasure?

December 22, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
(Luke 2:19 (NIV))

When you are the mother of Jesus, what else would you treasure?

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

For the rest of us who did not experience the angel announcing that she had found favor in the eyes of God and that she was chosen to be the mother of His Son, we have to work to make sure that we treasure Jesus. With that said, have you ever truly given any thought to all that Mary experienced? The next questions can even be answered by the men reading this. Have you ever tried to imagine the wide range of emotions that Mary felt from conception to birth? How would you react if you were told that you had found favor in the eyes of God? How would you react if you were the only one in all of history to be told that?

Did those last questions leave you speechless?

We are only to worship the Lord, but can you even begin to comprehend, to imagine, the faith that Mary possessed? God used such an obedient faith to bring forth His Son into the world. Even though she found favor, Mary was not the Savior. She was only the vessel. The child that she bore was and is the Savior of all mankind.

In today’s world, we must never forget to always look to Jesus and not to the one who brings the Good News. We must remember that Jesus is the message and anyone who spreads the Gospel is only the messenger. We must make sure that we only treasure Jesus!

What do you treasure?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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