What are you struggling with?

September 7, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
(Ephesians 6:12 (NIV))

Do you ever feel like you are fighting a losing battle? Do you feel that no matter what you do, nothing ever goes your way? Do you ever feel like you do all the work and everyone else gets ahead? Do you see evil triumphantly defy all that you struggle to do?

Every person who has ever lived has faced struggles, but some seem to face more than others. If this is you, how do you respond?

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
‭‭(James‬ 1:2-4‬ (NIV‬‬))

Do you face your struggles with joy?

I realize that this is an unusual question, but that is exactly what anyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior is called to do. We must remember that we have changed our citizenship. We are no longer part of this world. We are just passing through on our way to our ultimate home with Jesus. Because of this, the world hates us.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
‭‭(John‬ 15:18-19‬ (NIV‬‬))

Who do you belong to?

What are you struggling with?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you seek the stability and love of the Lord?

August 24, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.
(Psalms 94:18-19 (NIV))

Have you ever been in a situation like this? Have you ever felt like this? There is a very good chance that not only have each of us experienced things like this, but we have probably experienced them in recent history.

What makes your foot slip? What gives you great anxiety?

It is probably a very safe assumption to say that both of these occur when we take our eyes off of Jesus. It is at that time when we look at the world and our circumstances in the world. When you are walking, most slips and falls occur because you have diverted your eyes and your attention from the path in front of you. It is at these very moments that you falter and possibly even fall to the ground simply because you lost focus on what lie ahead. Isn’t this just like what happens in your spiritual walk when you take your eyes off of Jesus? It is at these moments that you fail to follow the path in front of you. When this happens, our spiritual footing slips. We falter and fall into something that we don’t really desire to be in. When this happens, human nature seems to remind us of our shortcomings. The enemy drives the point home and we soon find ourselves in great anxiety.

What has made you take your eyes off of Jesus?

You are either lucky or lying if you say that you only have one thing that distracts you from Jesus! Even the most mature of us have too many things to place into this list. The good thing about this is that no matter your spiritual maturity level, the Lord walks with you and waits patiently for you to repent and return to Him. Just as He was waiting for us with open arms when we accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, He is waiting with open arms for us to repent and return to Him on a daily, and possibly even on an hourly basis. Some of us may even need to repent and return each minute of the day. He will be there! He will take us in His arms and wipe away the tears caused by our failures and our anxiety? He will pick us up and place us back on the path that leads to Him. He will walk hand in hand with us if we simply ask Him to!

I truly understand why the psalmist wrote that His consolation brought joy to his soul.

Do you seek the stability and love of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Hope, joy and peace come from trusting the Lord!

July 22, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 15:13 (NIV))

With the current state of the world, we need hope. We need joy, and we need peace!

Can you imagine how people who don’t profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are coping with what we have been facing? Even members of the Body of Christ can sometimes begin to feel the weight of the world crashing down on us, and we have the hope we have been given through Jesus to cling to! Can you imagine the weight that others are feeling when they have no hope to cling to?

We are all familiar with the often used saying that when things are looking down, look up. To be honest with you, I see more and more people boldly proclaiming their faith through social media than I have ever seen. It may just be the algorithms that are used, but it appears that over fifty percent of what I see is people sharing faith based content. I take this as an indication that people are spending more time in God’s Word and are clinging to the truth that it contains. People are looking up! Or, should I say that they are looking down into the pages of their Bibles? Can we take this as a sign that people are lifting their hearts and their hands to heaven? Can we take this as a sign the people are lifting up prayers to the Lord?

For those of us who cling to the promises that are “yes” in Jesus, we have hope. We have joy, and we have peace. We also have an assignment!

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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 28:18-20 (NIV))

And, the harvest fields are ripe to hear the Gospel!

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))

There has never been a better time to share the Gospel of Jesus. The time may be short and for those who don’t trust in the Lord, we may be the only people who will share. We must tell them the truth!

Hope, joy and peace come from trusting the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We have a Savior and He wins!

June 8, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
(Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV))

I am so very weary!

I don’t know just how much more of this world I can stand. Jesus is mocked and chastised while evil is declared truth. Common sense and civility no longer seem to exist.

The whole world simply seems to be upside down and getting worse!

Perhaps I spend too much time watching and reading about events in the world and the current state of what the world says is good. It is heartbreaking to see, but I believe that it is important to know what is going on so that I am at least aware and possibly prepared. We were told to know the seasons. We can’t live our lives in a vacuum where we are completely oblivious to what is going on around us. That is what the enemy wants us to do.

I am weary, or should I say saddened by the current state of the world. I am also very excited, for we have a promise from God. He sent His Son Jesus to be our Savior. Because of this, even when I am weary from what I see in the world, all I have to do is look up to see my Savior.

Don’t forget the promises that God has fulfilled in sending His Son!

I am eternally thankful for Jesus! Even in the midst of troubles, He is in complete control. Everything is unfolding just as the Lord planned. We have nothing to fear even when all seems lost.

“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 afraid of the events that are happening in the world? Are you weary and burdened by the things that you see unfolding? Are you saddened by the total rebellion against God? Does it break your heart to see evil being called good and good being called evil? There is an old saying that it is darkest just before the dawn. To put this saying into context – when it seems that things can’t get any worse, look up. When you can’t understand why things are happening as they are, look up. When you think that the world can’t do anything else that goes against God’s righteousness, look up. The dawn is coming!

Angels rejoiced when Jesus was born. The enemy rejoiced when Jesus was crucified for he thought that he had won. The disciples rejoiced at the resurrection. Each believer rejoices at the moment of accepting salvation. The enemy is rejoicing once again, but all of the heavenly host and all who call upon the name of Jesus will rejoice at His return.

We have a Savior and He wins!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Can you respond with joy when you are under trial?

April 21, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
(James 1:2-4 (NIV))

I was reminded of this today when I went to turn my primary computer on this morning. Apparently sometime during the night after the previous night’s devotional finished sending, it crashed BIG TIME! This computer was my work horse. It had a huge hard drive for all of the applications and the data. I have an automated backup that grabs any files that have changed or have been added since the previous night. The bad thing is that it took me ninety minutes to get the computer to load a desktop before I could see the full extent of the problem.

I was trying to work!

I was supposed to be on a call, but the virtual call information was on that computer. As you can imagine, I was not a happy camper. Needless to say, I missed the meeting and I ended up spending all day trying to reconfigure another computer with the software that I needed.

I realize that this is a minor trial in the grand scheme of things, but when you rely on something and it fails, you scramble. When you have work to do, you scramble. When you have a large readership, you scramble. Today, I was faced with not being able to work as well as not being able to write and send a devotional this evening. Fortunately, I will be able to work tomorrow, and as you can tell, I am able to send this tonight. This day reminded me that nothing in this world is guaranteed. I pray that this is the extent of my trials for a while, but I know the enemy all too well. We will all face trials in our lives!

When we face trials, we must not lose sight of the One who walks with us through the midst of these trials. We must also remember that the enemy does not attack those who belong to him. These aspects are probably the most important things to remember when we face trials. If we are under attack, then we can rejoice in the fact that we are following the Lord in our lives. The attacks, both small and great, are the enemy’s attempt to distract you and make you stumble and fall away from Jesus.

Today, I was reminded to stop and rejoice even in the midst of my trials.

Can you respond with joy when you are under trial?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you find joy in your trials?

April 14, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
(James 1:2 (NIV))

What is your state of mind considering the present state of the world?

I ask this because all of us have been facing trials that we never thought would happen and we honestly don’t know if and when they will end. With this in mind, are you filled with joy? Do you have a peace in your life that others just don’t seem to understand? If this is true, then it is time to share the reason behind your joy and your peace so that others may come to know the same truths.

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

No one knows what tomorrow may bring. This very moment might be the last opportunity that someone you know has to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. You need to tell them about Jesus! If you believe that the events foretold of in Daniel and Revelation are unfolding, then we should have a sense of urgency in sharing the hope and joy of our salvation with those who need to know Jesus before the time comes when it is too late.

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 know that there will be trouble in this world. Sometimes the trouble is of a personal nature. Sometimes the trouble is of a catastrophic nature. No matter what trouble you face, we know that our redeemer lives! If you truly stop to think about the trials and troubles that this world sends our way, we should have such a joy and a peace just from the knowledge that the One in whom we trust has overcome the world and will see us through whatever we are going through.

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
(Philippians 1:21 (NIV))

We have been given a promise that Jesus is with us always in this world no matter what we may face. We are also given a promise that He is preparing a place for us. Based on these promises, why would anyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior ever feel anything less than joy since the promises of hope are true?

Do you find joy in your trials?

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

December 29, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
(Revelation 1:8 (NIV))

God is good all the time! Yesterday, today and tomorrow, He is the same. He is the Alpha and the Omega. Now that we are ending a year that has had the whole world afraid to be in public and as we are entering a new year that has many people worried and wondering, we must remember that God is God and He never changes. No matter what happens when January 1st comes, God is still God.

If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, your joy is not tied to the events of this world. No matter what may happen in this world, we should have a true sense of joy. We should have a true sense of peace.

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))

There are a few words in this passage from Philippians that stand out to me.

Rejoice.

Always.

Peace.

Guard.

Hearts.

Minds.

If we profess that God is the Almighty, and we also profess that Jesus is Lord, why do we look at this world with such a pessimistic outlook? Are we truly allowing our hearts and minds to be guarded by the peace of God?

Think about that as we step into what I am certain will be a very uncertain year. No matter what we may face, we must remember who is in charge and in whom we have placed our faith. With the promises that we have been given by God, we should be able to face anything in this world with a joy and a peace that is beyond the ability of the world to understand. We just need to make sure that we don’t fail to understand.

Happy New Year!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

December 23, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy–
(Jude 1:24 (NIV))

This one statement, from a worldly point of view, is a difficult thing to grasp. The world is treacherous. The enemy is constantly trying to kill or destroy. Who can possibly keep themselves from falling into the traps that the world presents? Who can possibly keep others from falling into those very same traps? Every person who has ever lived has faced the traps that the enemy has set for each of us. No one has ever been exempt from this temptation. All of created humanity has failed.

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

There is one who was sent to save us from falling. He is not part of creation. He is the Creator. He came to earth as one of us. He took it upon himself to be what He created. He took it upon himself to save His creation so that we could have a way to keep from falling. He took the sins of the world upon himself so that we could be sin free. Only one has that authority. Only God can possess such power.

At this time of year, we think of Jesus as a little baby in a manger, but we must not lose site of the fact that He was also God. Even as an infant, He possessed authority over all of creation. This Christmas morning, stop and think about your children. Thank God for the grace and mercy that are celebrated through the birth of a child. Stop and think about the gift that child gave you. It is a gift that only God could give.

Praise God!

to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
(Jude 1:25 (NIV))

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you filled with the joy of the Lord?

December 11, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Blessed are they whose ways are blameless,
    who walk according to the law of the LORD.
Blessed are they who keep his statutes
    and seek him with all their heart.
(Psalms 119:1-2 (NIV))

Christmas is rapidly approaching in a year that has been far from ordinary!

With everything that has been happening in the world, have you been able to stay true to the faith that you profess? Have you been able to stand firm in your walk with the Lord? Have you done things this year that you said that you would never do? Have you been embarrassed by your actions?

This is a time to reflect on our sinful, human nature. This is also a time to reflect on what God has done for us by sending His Son to earth to give us grace. It is also a time to reflect on our attitude towards this gift. Do we truly keep His statutes and seek Him with all our heart? This Christmas morning, I pray that you are truly thankful and joyous, celebrating the true meaning of the day. I pray that you are able to lift your eyes to the heavens and truly be thankful even in the midst of the current state of this world, for this world is not our source of joy!

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.
(1 John 2:15 (NIV))

Do you love the world? Do you find yourself looking to the world for your joy? As we draw near to the end of an unusual and difficult year, it should be obvious that the world is not where we, as believers, should focus. We must remember the true reason for the season and keep that joy. If we hold fast to that joy, we can face anything that the world and the enemy may send our way.

Are you filled with the joy of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How is your strength?

November 13, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He gives strength to the weary
     and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
     and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
     will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
     they will run and not grow weary,
     they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:29-31 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but I am weary in my own strength. I don’t have the ability to face the world on my own. I am tired! Perhaps I could even go so far as saying that I am exhausted.

The world in which we live has become so polarized. People rage against anything and everything that God considers good. They openly embrace anything that God considers evil. They mock anyone who clings to the sole source of truth. They censor the name of Jesus who is the source of this truth because they don’t want to offend those who do evil. They don’t want to offend the enemy!

Do you understand why I am weary?

I, like every single person who has ever lived, do not have the strength to face the enemy on my own. Thankfully I can turn to the ultimate source of strength. I can rely on the strength of someone much greater than I. I can rely on the strength of my Lord and Savior. I can rely on the strength of my God! With this strength, I have the ability to face whatever the world may send my way. I have the strength to face whatever the enemy may send my way.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
     my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
     and with my song I praise him.
(Psalms 28:7 (NIV))

He gives us strength by letting us rest in His presence. He gives us strength when we need shelter from the world. He gives us strength by equipping us with His truth. He gives us strength when we are still. When we desire to live out His truth, He fights the battles.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
(Exodus 14:14 (NIV))

When you are on the side of the Lord, that should be enough to give you the strength to overcome the weariness caused by the evil in the world!

How is your strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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