Set the world aside and focus on the Lord!

November 28, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

This has been my life verse for over twenty-five years. I have been on a faith journey, and it has been one that I have documented with those who are willing to read. I do this because I have been given a calling, and I do this because what I write is not solely for me. Everyone goes through things in their lives that we can all relate to. I have been called to be open and to share my faith journey in anticipation that God will use these writings to reach people in their time of need, their time of curiosity, or their time of seeking. Even so, I am only human, and I am subject to human limitations and human frailties.

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
(Mark 14:38b (NIV))

I have chosen to leave out the first part of this passage, for it was not temptation that sidelined me. A family pet turned on me and rendered me incapable of doing much of anything. I know that thumbs are important to our daily lives, but you never truly understand how important until you have lost the ability to use either thumb for almost two weeks. I couldn’t even hold my Bible without pain, or read on my phone or tablet in one of the many Bible apps that I have. Add to that the IV antibiotics on a schedule that seemed to be every two hours for almost five days, and I was left with only my prayer time. I had to learn to be still in His presence all over again. All of my normal quiet time that I spend daily in prayer, reading, studying, and writing had to be set aside. All that I had was my time to just talk to the Lord. To be honest with you, I did not spend as much time as I should have in prayer, but it was a start. I have come away with a renewed sense of peace.

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

I came away completely knowing that whatever happens to me, He is there.

This is only the second time that I have had to be admitted to the hospital, and both times I was in complete peace. Six years ago as I laid in the cardiology ICU with sever blood clots, I never once feared what could have happened. The same held true for this time as well. It is such a comforting feeling to have complete peace in and through your faith in Jesus even when your world is being completely turned upside down.

Do you have that complete peace in your life?

It starts with admitting that you are a sinner in need of a Savior and that Jesus is that Savior. Once you do this, I highly recommend spending time in His presence. Take the time to be still and get to know the one who already knows you intimately. I promise you that you will not be disappointed.

Set the world aside and focus on the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must remember that Jesus is the bread of life!

November 7, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Give us today our daily bread.
(Matthew 6:11 (NIV))

Most people read this passage to mean that we are to look to the Lord for our daily earthly sustenance. I wholeheartedly agree, for everything is His, but there is so much more to this passage than what we acknowledge on the surface.

Just who is the bread of life? Jesus is the bread of life and His earthly birth occurred in a little town that literally translates as the house of bread. With this information, what was Jesus telling us?

This, then, is how you should pray:

‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.’
(Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV))

After starting off our prayers praising God, we are to ask for our daily dose of Jesus!

Think about that in comparison to our physical sustenance. How long can you go without eating? How long can you go without drinking? What happens to your physical body when you do not eat or drink? What happens to your spiritual being if you do not partake of your daily bread that is Jesus? I venture to say that just as when you do not feed your body, your body weakens, the same is true if you do not fee your spirit. Just as we need to feed our bodies, we are to eat daily of the bread of life. We are to hunger for the satisfying feeling that we get when we truly spend time in His presence and in His Word.

We are coming up on a holiday in which we indulge in feasting as a way of giving thanks. We sit around the table with family and friends and reminisce about the blessings that we have been given. We fill our physical bodies with food. If we ate like this every single day of the year, we would be extremely overweight. There is a feast that you can partake of every single day of your life and it will fill you to overflowing not with weight but with the fruit of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
(Galatians 5:22-23a (NIV))

We are to feast on Jesus! We are to recognize and embrace the simple truth that He is the bread of life and that all good things come through our acceptance of Him as our personal Lord and Savior.

I believe that there is one more truth to grasp.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
(Matthew 4:4 (NIV))

Even though Jesus is the bread of life and we are told that He is the Word made flesh, He tells us to not stop our faith, our hunger, with simply proclaiming His name. We are to hunger for all that God has for us. Think about that. If you go to a restaurant, they bring you bread as a starter. You eat that, but you know that something better is coming. I realize that there is nothing better than Jesus, but what He is telling us is that He is sufficient to satisfy your hunger, but you can have so much more if you simply ask. You can truly feast on all of the blessings of God. In order to do this, there is one simple truth that we must remember.

We must remember that Jesus is the bread of life!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you prepared for?

October 20, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
(Ephesians 6:1 (NIV))

How good are you at facing the things of this world on your own strength?

I can almost hear your thoughts on this. Everyone likes to put on a false front and tell the world that they have everything covered, while inside they are falling apart.

Are you like most people and tell everyone that you have everything covered? Do you tell yourself that as well? Do you honestly believe the lies that you tell yourself? What happens at the first sign of trouble?

I realize that I am asking a lot of questions, but in all honesty, what good is reading God’s Word if you don’t feel uncomfortable. It is intended to make you reflect, to make you stop and take a good, long, hard look at your life in relation to the passage in question.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 (NIV))

With that in mind, are you tired of trying to face things on your own strength? You don’t need to do this. You don’t need to rely on what you can do. You don’t need to lie to the world and to yourself. You don’t need to sacrifice your joy for a false facade. You don’t need to listen to the lies of the enemy. Turn your eyes toward Jesus!

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

Just how do you have life to the full? How do you rely on the strength of the Lord? How do you rely on His mighty power?

I am sure that you have thought of these questions yourself, but there is something else that came to my mind. The following words are often seen on bumper stickers, on social media, and many other places, but they hold true.

No Jesus. No peace.
Know Jesus! Know peace!

To be strong in the Lord means that you truly know Him. It means that you cling to His every word and to His every promise. It means that you know Jesus so well that you know without a doubt that all of His promises are Yes and Amen! You may recognize that Ephesians 6:1 is the beginning of the passages where we are told to put on the full armor of God. We are to surround ourselves with His Word. We are to understand that His Word is power. We are to understand that His Word is our protection against the enemy. We are to understand that His Word will defeat the enemy. We are to know His Word and His truth so well that we are prepared for anything that the enemy may try to send our way!

What are you prepared for?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

October 12, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”
(Revelation 14:11 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but this does not sound very pleasant. It is not something that I would desire, nor can I even imagine anyone wanting this for themselves, their friends or their family. Still, because people reject Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, they will suffer this fate. The sad thing is that no one has to suffer the eternal consequences of their sins.

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))

If you have been following these devotionals for very long, you have probably noticed a shift from living according to God’s Word to a more urgent nature. There is something unsettling in my spirit and the events of the world support what I, and many others, are sensing. I have numerous trustworthy sources that I read and watch every day. What I am seeing is not being reported, and it is amazing. If I did not know Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior, I would be completely and utterly scared of what I see. It is my desire to “fly under the radar” so that my posts are not blocked on social media. For this reason, I will not provide sources for these comments, but rest assured that the comments are legitimate. With this in mind, I want to present some of the things that I have recently read or heard.

  • The culling of humanity is about to accelerate taking many children and young adults, as the doctors, politicians and preachers remain silent.
  • History began with humans inventing gods and will end when humans become gods.
  • The resurrection of Jesus is fake news.
  • Humans are now hackable animals no longer subject to the intelligent design of some fictional god above the clouds but our intelligent design.
  • The idea of humans having free will is over. Today, we have the technology to hack human beings on a massive scale.
  • You will own nothing and be happy.

Do you believe the Bible? Do you believe in the prophecies that foretold of Jesus’ first appearance on this earth? If you say that you believe the Bible, then you have to believe the prophecies that it contains. It is said that somewhere between 20-30% is prophecy. God’s track record is perfect when you look at what has been fulfilled so far. Why do we even venture to think that what has not been fulfilled will be any different?

God created us to have free will. Once we take the mark, based on the comments above, our free will is gone forever! There is no turning back. If the few comments that I have included do not unsettle your spirit, then perhaps you need to take a long, hard look at your priorities. You should also take a long, hard look at the 20-30% of the Bible that you have ignored before it is too late. Just for reference, just in case you did not know, digital tracking technology is already in place! If you don’t believe me, take a look at the face recognition on your phone. Do you honestly believe your face scan stays on your phone? Do a search for something and then log into one of your social media accounts. I am positive you will immediately see ads for what you just searched for. If this can be done, what will this technology be used for in the hands of the antichrist?

Keep your eyes open to the world. We are told to watch and recognize the signs.

There is even one more important thing that we are told to do.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you believe this?

September 21, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
(John 11:25-26 (NIV))

Does this sound too fantastic to be true?

According to the world, it is, but we don’t live according to the world. If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you don’t need to live according to the world, either! It all starts with one basic truth that is clearly evident in the world today.

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

We are all sinners and because of that, we can never be in the presence of God, for He cannot associate with sin. Because of this, we are condemned to an eternity without God. We are condemned to spiritual and physical death.

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

But . . .

Did you notice that word in the middle of Romans 6:23? As humans, we often use this word to indicate that we have an excuse for what we have done. God uses this word to turn the tables on sin and death.

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 loves us enough to provide a way out of the consequences of sin and death. It all starts with the ABCs.

A is 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.

Do you long for life beyond what we know in this sinful, fallen world? Do you long for life in the presence of a just and loving God? Do you long for life without tears and heartache? Now is the time to make that confession of faith before it is too late!

Is Jesus your resurrection and your life?

Do you believe this?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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You don’t have to stay under condemnation!

June 1, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
(Romans 8:1 (NIV))

Do you like to be blamed or held accountable when things go wrong?

That is exactly what condemnation is. We are blamed and held accountable for the sins that we commit. We are all guilty. We are all sinners.

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

No descendants of Adam and Eve can escape the fate that we inherit due to the fall from grace. We are all born sinners and we inherit, we deserve, the consequences of our sins. There is none righteous on our own!

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

But, God . . .

God had another plan to redeem us, to restore us unto Himself. God has a plan to remove all condemnation from us as far as the east is from the west.

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))

If you profess a faith in Jesus, your sins are forgiven. You do not stand condemned. That is the greatest news that anyone could ever receive. With all that is happening in the world at this time, many people believe that His return is coming very soon. We do not want to be found still condemned by our sin when He does return. 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.

It is your choice!

You don’t have to stay under condemnation!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Honor and praise to God and to those who answer His call!

May 31, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
(John 12:25-26 (NIV))

I have sent this before, but I believe that it merits another visit.

Think back on the history of this country.

Have we ever had a time when a king or a dictator forced anyone to fight and die? Have we ever had a time when we turned tail and ran from the responsibilities that we have been given? We owe our country to our faith in God and to the brave men and women who were willing to sacrifice everything for the principles that our country is founded upon.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:13 (NIV))

Think about that verse.

Our nation was founded by people who were seeking something. Some came seeking adventure. Some came seeking opportunity. But, many were seeking freedom to worship God as they saw fit. It was this freedom that became an integral part of our nation’s mindset. We were founded by people who saw something that they didn’t agree with and were willing to do something about it.

Some spoke out about the things that they saw. Others rallied people behind them. Many gave their lives to battle the very things that they saw as oppressive. We have never been a country to shy away from doing what is right. We have been driven by a desire to see God’s love, grace and mercy prevail. It is true that some people may not have known Jesus as their Lord and Savior, yet they had an inner feeling about right and wrong. It was part of our culture and our society. They answered the call many times even before they knew there was a call.

They gave it all. They were willing to lay down their lives so that others could know the freedoms that God had granted us. They followed the example of Jesus when He went to the cross. It was something that would end in their death, yet they faced it with dignity and pride. They did not run from their responsibility.

They faced the enemy with honor. They did not shy away from the task at hand because it would mean their death. They were living out the words of Jesus.

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

They gave their lives in much the same way that Jesus gave His. They knew that without their sacrifice, countless lives would be lost.

Memorial Day has just passed. It is a day that we are supposed to remember the sacrifices. It is a day to say thank you. It is a day to ask ourselves if we are capable of stepping up and defending what we hold to be true. There may come a day when we will be called upon to proclaim our faith and suffer the consequences. It is my prayer that we may all love God more than we love our own lives.

Honor and praise to God and to those who answer His call!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Why do people still try to find another way?

April 26, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
(John 14:6 (NIV))

It couldn’t be said any clearer. There is only one way to the Father, only one way to heaven, and His name is Jesus!

Muhammad can’t save you. Confucius can’t save you. Buddha can’t save you. Mary can’t save you. Wealth can’t save you. Power can’t save you. Good works can’t save you, and you surely can’t save yourself.

The problem is that people don’t want to believe this or they think it is too simple. They think that something more must be done and they that must do it. In other words, they feel that they must earn salvation. That is where the other ways that people come up with all fail. Everything is based on works and salvation is a gift only given by God through Jesus.

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))

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.
(Acts 4:12 (NIV))

By definition, a gift is something that is voluntarily transferred from one person to another without any payment or compensation. It is a one way transaction where the recipient receives what the gift giver is giving. Nothing is owed in return. Does this sound like we have to work for it? Does this sound like we have to earn what we have been freely given?

This gift is given out of love!

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 want to present a scenario if I may. Imagine that an invitation was sent out to everyone inviting them to attend a party in a glorious mansion. The invitation was sent out through the son of the owner, and the only stipulation was that the people invited had to accept the invitation from the son. The son would be checking the list at the door to see if he had recorded your name in the registry of attendees as having accepted his invitation. Nothing could be simpler, yet, there will still be those who try to crash the party. There will still be those who try to break in through a back door. Sadly, they will be rejected even though all that they had to do was accept the invitation from the son and they would have been able to gain entry.

Trying to get to the Father in any other way but Jesus is like trying to crash a party. You will not be able to gain entrance.

Why do people still try to find another way?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you persevering under trial?

March 24, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
(James 1:12 (NIV))

I was looking through passages for today’s devotional and this is the first thing that came up as if I was being led to it. I read the passage and I knew that this passage had been the basis of a devotional before. I did a search for it and what I found made me pause. Not only had this passage come to the forefront for today’s devotional, I also found that it had been the subject exactly one year ago today! Then, I was led to ask if you were ready to persevere.

As a believer, I firmly stand on the precept that there are no such things as coincidences. God unfolds, God presents, what He wants us to know when He wants us to know it. With that said, is God telling us to keep persevering through what is currently unfolding and what will be unfolding in this world? I firmly believe that is the case as we see things move from a global pandemic to the threat of nuclear war. We must realize that through all of this, God is still in control. Nothing that is happening is a surprise to our God. He is not panicking, so why should we?

We have been told of wars and rumors of wars. We have been told of nations rising against nations. We have been told of a global “pharmakeia” deception. We have been told all of this and so much more and we are seeing it unfold!

With all that is going on in the world, are you at peace?

“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))

I don’t know about you, but I plan to keep my eyes focused on the one who told us these things would happen. I plan to keep my eyes focused on Jesus! It is my prayer that I am able to persevere in my faith no matter what trial, no matter what test that I may face. Is this your prayer?

Are you persevering under trial?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What have you found?

February 24, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.
(Proverbs 21:21 (NIV))

The United States of America’s Declaration of Independence states “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Do you pursue happiness, or are you eyes set on a higher standard of righteousness and love?

If you pursue happiness, will you achieve righteousness? I can think of many people who have pursued sinful ways to happiness. This is not righteousness in the eyes of the Lord. They do not find life, prosperity and honor even though they think that they have found happiness. What they have found is fleeting. What they have found does not lead to life, prosperity and honor. With that said, if you pursue righteousness and love, do you believe that you will achieve happiness? Think about that question in relation to the following passage.

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Matthew 25:23 (NIV))

If we pursue righteousness and love, we get to share in God’s happiness!

Think about that concept. We get to share in God’s happiness. Can you imagine what that means? Can you comprehend all that this includes? If we pursue righteousness and love, we will find life, prosperity and honor, plus we will share in God’s happiness if we have been faithful in our pursuit.

How do you classify happiness?

What makes you happy? What do you think of when you want to make yourself happy?

Now, let’s stop to think about God’s thoughts.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
      neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
      so are my ways higher than your ways
      and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

Do you fully comprehend the height, depth and breadth of God’s happiness that we get to share?

We truly do find so much when we seek His righteousness!

What have you found?

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