Have you accepted His peace?

May 14, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
(John 14:27 (NIV))

There is so much packed into these three short sentences!

Jesus starts off by telling us that He gives us peace, but we know that the peace that He gives is so much more than the fleeting glimpses that the world shows us.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

What has the world given you?

You may start to say life and love, but where did those truly come from?

The things that this sinful, fallen world gives us are not what God gives us. Pain and heartache come to mind as just two examples of the not so wonderful gifts the world gives us. Sickness and death come to mind, as well as bitterness and anxiety. In essence, the things that the world bestows upon us are not the gifts that we want.

With that in mind, what has the world actually given to you?

Is it anything that you desire to keep?

What has Jesus given to you? What has God given to each of us in our sinful, fallen nature?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:8‬ (‭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))

Lastly, Jesus tells us to not be fearful and troubled.

“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))

We can stand firmly on the promises of these three sentences, but it comes with a price. We must profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior! We must repent and follow Jesus! Only then will we have the peace that only He can give.

Have you accepted His peace?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


What do you treasure?

May 13, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV))

This world is fleeting and the things in it do not last. The treasures that man stores for himself will eventually be worthless.

Nothing lasts forever in this world. But we have a promise of something much greater that is not of this world. Since it is not of this world, then it will last forever, for the promise is that nothing can destroy it or no one can steal it.

Just what is this treasure that is so priceless, yet cannot be stolen? It is the treasure of heaven as God has promised and as Jesus Christ has made it available to us through His selfless sacrifice on the cross.

It is said that “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If that is true, then we must carefully select what we treasure. If our treasure is something worldly that can be stolen or destroyed, then our heart can be stolen or destroyed as well. Many people have had this happen to them. Their treasure was gold, and their heart became so consumed with protecting that gold that nothing else mattered. What do you suppose would happen to these people if they lost all of their gold?

When the stock market crashed at the beginning of the Great Depression, many people lost their fortunes, and many of those took their own lives. They could not comprehend life without what they had worked so hard to gain. What would have happened to these people had they placed their heart with Jesus?

What do you treasure?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


We must persevere as the race unfolds!

May 10, 2021

Image

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 has the last year or so been for you?

I could probably stop there and say something about keeping your eyes focused on Jesus, but I feel that there is so much more to say about being able to persevere. With all of the things that have happened in the last year, and all of the things that continue to happen, we must not lose sight of where our hope comes from. With prices soaring for basic materials and supplies can’t keep up with the demands, we appear to be facing the beginning of shortages. Now we are facing cyber attacks that threaten to bring us to a halt because oil and gas cannot flow. I honestly believe that things are going to get much worse than most people expect.

How does society handle this?

How do we, as the Body of Christ, handle this?

If ever there was a time to throw off everything that hinders, I believe that time is now. If ever there was a time to repent of the sin that entangles us, that time is now. We need to make sure that our lives are singularly focused on Jesus and not the world. If we look to the world, we will faint out of fear. If we look to Jesus, we can rest assured that He is our hope, that He is our strength, and that He is our strong tower!

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.
(Proverbs 18:10 (NKJV))

We can’t claim righteousness if we cling to things that hinder and to the sin that entangles us. We can only claim righteousness if we accept the gift of grace that was freely given at the cross. We must repent! We must persevere in our faith. We must hold fast to the promises that we have been given through Jesus.

No one knows what tomorrow will bring, but we can have a good understanding of what is to come by staying in God’s Word. We must be as diligent as watchmen. We must be constantly on guard for what the enemy is doing. We must not fall for the lies and the traps of the enemy. We must be alert and prepared. We must come together as the Body of Christ and hold fast to Jesus like never before!

We must persevere as the race unfolds!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


What do you claim about yourself?

May 6, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
(1 John 1:8 (NIV))

Do you think that you are a good person?

Have you bought into the lie of the enemy that we are basically good?

Even Jesus did not consider Himself to be good when He walked this earth.

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.”
(Mark 10:18 (NIV))

To be honest with you, this one has me a little perplexed.

Even if you look upon Jesus as God with us, He was fully human. Did He say this because of this human side that theoretically could sin, or did He say this because He had not completed what He came to do and had not been glorified yet? Perhaps it was for the same reason that He often told people whom He healed to not tell anyone. Perhaps it was because it was not part of the plan for Jesus to be glorified as a man before the appointed time.

One thing to look at during His time on earth is the simple statement of His mission.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
(Luke 19:10 (NIV))

We are all lost because of sin. Not a single one of us is without sin. Not a single one of us is righteous on our own.

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Take a serious look at your life. Do you now or have you ever thought that you were a good person? Do you make claims that Jesus refused to make?

What do you claim about yourself?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

May 4, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
(Romans 12:12 (NIV))

Are any of us truly able to do these three things?

Some of us may be good at one of these three, but it is a rare individual who can honestly do all three on a regular basis.

We have all known the individual who was always joyful, hopeful and optimistic. We have all known people who, no matter what hardships come their way, they patiently move in the same direction without complaining. We also have all known people who are powerful prayer warriors and will willingly petition the Lord on any occasion.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
(Philippians 4:12 (NIV))

Am I the only one who sees all of these characteristics in Paul?

Take a look at his life after his Damascus Road experience. From the writings that we have, we see that he was always joyful and hopeful, even in the midst of troubles. We see that he was patient in his afflictions. His writings tell us that he was willing to face affliction if it meant that the Gospel would be spread as a result. We also see from his writing that he was always praying for those whom he had discipled and he was always praying for the Gospel to be made known among the nonbelievers.

What made Paul this unique individual that seems to have possessed all three characteristics and lived them out to the glory of the Lord?

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
(Philippians 4:13 (NIV))

In other words, Paul kept his eyes on Jesus! He knew where his strength came from. He knew that as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he would be guided to live out these characteristics and so much more.

When do you lose joy?

When do you lose hope?

When do you lose patience?

When do you fail to be faithful in prayer?

If you are like me, the answer to all of these questions is the same. All of these happen when we fail to keep our eyes on Jesus. We fail to look to Him. We fail to rely on His strength. We fail to surrender authority to the name that we profess as having all power and authority. If we keep our eyes on Jesus, He is our joy. He is our hope. He is our patience and He is our faithfulness.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


What have you become?

April 30, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
(2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV))

We all had dreams of what we wanted to be when we grew up. If I took a survey, I would probably get such answers as professional athlete, musician or actor, but how many people make it a priority to become the righteousness of God? How many people have the spiritual maturity to say that they want to become like Jesus in all aspects of their lives?

Even though none of us probably thought of becoming the righteousness of God, Jesus always planned on taking on our sin!

Think about that!

All of the sin of every single person who ever lived and ever will live willingly accepted so that we can be righteous!

Can you imagine the weight and burden of all of that sin and the pain and anguish that Jesus endured in order to trade our sin for His righteousness? He willingly made the trade so that we could become redeemed children of God. All that we have to do to become righteous and redeemed children of God is to accept that gift. It’s 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.

What have you become?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Are we seeking the lost for Jesus?

April 28, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
(Luke 19:10 (NIV))

What is your understanding of why Jesus came into this world?

His primary purpose was to bring restoration between God and a sinful, fallen humanity by offering salvation to anyone who would simply believe. This singular task was and still is intended to bring people back to the Father after the enemy deceived us in the Garden of Eden. When humanity allowed sin into the world, we lost the ability to be in relationship with the Father, for He is perfect and cannot associate with sin. Jesus came to offer humanity a way out of our sinful nature so that we can be in relationship once again with the Father. All of the problems that humanity faces are a direct result of our sinful, fallen nature. Poverty, greed, lust, and everything else are simply symptoms of the root problem and that problem is sin. Jesus didn’t come into the world to deal with the symptoms. He came to deal with the cause of all of the symptoms. He did not come into the world to be a social justice warrior, He came to destroy the root cause of social injustice. He did not come into the world to redistribute wealth. He came into the world to destroy the enemy and to turn people back to loving God instead of money.

Jesus came into this world to destroy the power of sin! He came to call people to a relationship with the Father through Himself. He came to redeem humanity for a loving Father.

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.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

If Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, and we are called to do the works that He was doing, are we fulfilling this calling? He even left instructions for this task with His disciples.

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))

If Jesus told His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, this is a self-perpetuating assignment. As disciples bring more people to Jesus, these new disciples are given the same task as those who discipled them. In essence, our primary task is the same as what Jesus proclaimed of Himself. We are to seek and to save the lost by showing them Jesus. We are to do what Jesus did!

Are we seeking the lost for Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Have you found true rest in Jesus?

April 27, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 (NLT))

There is something about the words that the New Living Translation has used in translating this passage as compared to other translations.

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

They say the same thing but with different words. The New Living Translation’s use of the phrase “carry heavy burdens” paints a more vivid mental image than the single word “burdened.” According to Merriam-Webster, burdened means heavily laden or encumbered. In essence, one translation uses what could be considered the definition of the word while most of the other translations simply use the word itself.

What do you think of when you hear the word burdened?

Is it different than what you think of when you hear the phrase “carry heavy burdens?”

Human nature is a strange thing. We try to simplify certain aspects of our lives, but when we do, we have a tendency to lose the full meaning behind what was simplified. Today, when we think of being burdened, we think of mental and emotional stress caused by work, finances or relationships. When you think of carrying heavy burdens, you switch your thinking to a physical stress. In our modern mind set, they paint completely different imagery. When Jesus spoke these words, life was physically hard. I am certain that it was also mentally difficult simply because of the physical difficulties. Today, many of us sit down for a living, or we do far less physical labor than our ancestors had to do. What we consider burdens now primarily tax our hearts and minds instead of our muscles.

No matter the type of burdens that we may face, Jesus still gives us rest.

Are you physically tired or are you mentally and spiritually taxed?

What burdens do you carry?

Have you surrendered them to the Lord?

Have you found true rest in Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Are you keeping His commands?

April 19, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If you love me, keep my commands.
(John 14:15 (NIV))

Is it just me, or are the last three words extremely difficult to achieve?

If you truly profess a faith in Jesus, then you should truly love Jesus for who He is and for what He has done, but human nature always creeps into the picture!

Ever since the fall from grace, human nature has been incapable of perfectly following God’s instructions. We always miss the mark. We always sin. Even after the grace and mercy freely given to us at the cross, we are incapable of perfectly following God’s instructions. But, if you truly stop to think about this, that is exactly why we were given the gift of grace and mercy. Even after acknowledging our sinful nature, we still sin. Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior does not make you perfect on your own merit. It makes you perfect because you have exchanged your imperfections and sin for His perfection and righteousness in the eyes of God.

What does change is the desire to keep His commands!

What does change is the understanding that you will constantly fail.

What does change is your realization that He died to save you from the consequences of your sins.

What does change is your sinful, selfish attitude to a thankful, loving attitude.

What does change is your desire to strive to follow Him in all that you do.

Keeping His commands is not easy. If it were easy, Jesus would not have come into this world to die for our sins. What is easier is repenting when we fall short. What is easier is having a thankful heart for His grace and mercy. As I stated, keeping His commands is not easy, but striving to follow Jesus is the ultimate sign of your love for Him.

Are you keeping His commands?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


Do you trust in the Lord?

April 12, 2021

Image

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.
(Proverbs 29:25 (NIV))

Do you fear the events of the world?

Think carefully about that question before you answer, for the events of the world are all caused by man. God foretold of them, but what is playing out is the direct result of our sinful, fallen nature. Wars and rumors of wars are all caused by human nature. Calling evil good and good evil is a direct result of our rebellious, sinful nature. I could go on, but everything since Satan deceived Adam and Eve has been a direct result of our sinful, fallen nature.

Back to the events of the world. Do you fear COVID? Do you fear the vaccine? Do you fear lawlessness and hatred? Do you fear evil? Do you fear war? Is your fear increasing as these things and many more increase in the world? What does that say about where you are focusing your attention and your trust?

If you focus on the world, we lose hope. All that we see and will see is the ever-increasing sin and rebellion of humanity. We must focus our minds, our hearts and our spirits on the one thing that will allow us to overcome the world.

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
(1 John 5:5 (NIV))

When we look at the world, we know fear. When we look to Jesus, we know peace. Where do you look? What do you desire to know? Where do you desire to place your trust?

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 an overcomer?

Do you trust in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
Support Daily Living Ministries
Subscribe to daily email delivery
Visit us on facebook


%d bloggers like this: