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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Is this how you see His love?

February 16, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
(1 John 4:10 (NIV))

What good does it do to love someone if that love is not returned?

If you have trouble with this question, then all that you need to do is remember back to middle school and high school. I am sure that every single person has had such a thing happen to them during this tumultuous time in your life. We have all experienced what we thought was love only to be ignored by the one whom we expressed feelings for.

Is God like that?

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

God reached out to us first! He showed His love for us and gave us something amazing if we would only repent and love Him in return. Everything that we have is because God loves us enough to not leave us where we are. We were sinners in need of a Savior, so He sent His Son. There is no record of anyone ever being able to go to God and make a deal with Him. There is a record of God coming to us and making a deal with us. God’s deal bring salvation. God’s deal bring life and love. God’s deal is readily available to anyone who will accept. Accepting God’s deal means accepting His love. It means accepting His grace and mercy. It means accepting His plan of salvation for you.

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.

Our love for God could never do what His love for us has first done. Out of love, He reached down to lift us up. Out of love, He calls us His children. Out of love, He gives us something that we cannot get for ourselves.

Is this how you see His love?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What is your definition of love?

February 14, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
(1 John 3:16 (NIV))

On the day that we set aside to celebrate romantic love, we need to stop and reflect on what true love actually looks like. Let’s start with a simple question. What is your definition of love?

Does it include such things as roses and candlelight dinners? Perhaps we need to look at love from a much different perspective.

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

Just in case you didn’t know it, there are many different types of love. Love is much more than a feeling. It is an action. It is is a choice! That is definitely true when you realize that the ultimate form of love is the act of self-sacrificing for the benefit of someone else.

Do you see a pattern developing through these two verses of scripture? Love is a willingness to put the well-being of someone else above your own well-being. This is not easy to do, for self preservation runs very strong as part of the human experience. In other words, we have to look beyond our humanity and reach for the same characteristic within ourselves that Jesus displayed when He willingly went to the cross to die for our sins.

It is not easy!

Would you be able to lay down your life for your family and friends? Would you be able to lay down your life for a complete stranger? I pray that if the situation should ever arise that I would make the decision that would prove my love. Can you imagine what Jesus felt when He did what He did? No wonder He spoke these words from the cross as He looked out at those who were involved in His crucifixion.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
(Luke 23:34a(NIV))

Think about that for a moment. Do we truly know what we are doing? Do we truly understand God’s plans? Do we truly know how are actions of love will impact those around us? Do we know how far we will go to show our love?

What is your definition of love?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you resting in the confidence of these promises?

September 14, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
(John 10:28 (NIV))

This passage comes near the end of a discourse where Jesus identifies Himself as the good shepherd. To paraphrase, He describes the difference between a hired hand who will abandon the sheep at the first sign of trouble and the good shepherd who knows and loves his sheep. The good shepherd will lay down his life for his sheep. That is exactly what Jesus did for us on the cross. He willingly laid down His life so that we could have life! In fact, by professing a faith in Jesus and His authority as the good shepherd, we have a far greater reward than we could have ever hoped for. He has given us a hope far great than anything that we could have ever hoped for.

My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
(John 10:29 (NIV))

We have the assurance that we are in God’s hands and no one is greater than God. No one can steal us away from the love of the Father. No one can rip us out of the Father’s arms and no one can do anything to lessen His love for us.

No matter what the enemy may send your way, you are in the hands of God. You have nothing to fear.

No matter what the world may do to you tomorrow, you are in the hands of God. You shall not perish.

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus. Do not look at the world. It has nothing to offer of eternal worth.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
   In the light of His glory and grace.

In this world where events get stranger and stranger all of the time, we must turn our eyes upon Jesus. We must confidently hold fast to the promises of Jesus as the good shepherd. We must confidently hold fast to the promises of eternal life, for there is no other name by which we may be saved.

Are you resting in the confidence of these promises?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you prepared to stand firm?

September 9, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.
(Matthew 24:9 (NIV))

I realize that this sounds harsh and extreme. We look to Jesus to save us from our sin, but do we really accept the fact that we will face persecution, that we will face troubles and death? Is this what you signed up for when you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?

Where else do we have to go?

Hopefully, you answer as Peter did.

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
(John 6:68-69 (NIV))

The world is in a mess and getting worse every day. We cannot trust in man’s governments. We cannot trust in man’s wisdom. Anything in this world is corrupt and only produces more corruption. Anyone who professes a faith in Jesus is proclaiming that they do not trust anything of this world and that they only trust in Jesus. As a result of this proclamation of faith, the enemy is closing in. The world hates those who love Jesus.

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 am sure that you have heard the saying that it is better to be judged by the world than to be judged by God. The world’s judgment is temporary. God’s judgment is eternal. No matter what the world may send our way, we are to stay focused on Jesus. We are to do what Paul strived to do.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 3:14 (NIV))

Is the world better than the prize that we long for? Is the trouble that we may face worth it if we can see Jesus face to face? Is the hatred and the scorn of the world counted as joy because we are holding fast to the hope that we have in Jesus? I realize that many people who profess a faith in Jesus believe that we will not see this persecution because we will be raptured before it begins. I once had a preacher who would say that we should pray for pre-tribulation rapture, but we should prepare for post. I don’t want to get into a theological debate about when, but I do want to ask one simple question based on that statement about being prepared. Is your faith strong enough to stand firm no matter what you may face? We are told that many will turn away because of this persecution.

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,
(Matthew 24:10 (NIV))

Are you prepared to stand firm?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Who do you need to tell about the Son?

August 20, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
(1 John 5:12 (NIV))

If you ever go shopping, you are familiar with the concept of buying one, getting one free. I have to tell you that no matter what type of deal you may get when you do this, it is nothing compared to the amazing deal that you get for free by accepting God’s Son, Jesus, as your personal Lord and Savior! You get someone who is closer than a brother and you also get eternal life with Jesus in the presence of the Father. This is the ultimate deal considering our sinful nature.

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

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

To summarize, we are all sinners and the penalty for our sin is death, but God…

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))

This message never gets old, especially if you have the Son and life. It is also a reminder to those who profess a faith in Jesus that this gift is too precious, too great to keep to ourselves. When we read about God loving the world, we must not forget the consequences for those who do not have the Son of God. They do not have life! Is that what we want to have on our conscience? Do we want to forever realize that because we did not share the Son with someone, they are lost for all eternity?

Having the Son and having life is by far the very best deal that anyone can ever make. 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.

Who do you need to share the ABCs with?

Who do you need to tell about the Son?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you belong to the Lord?

August 16, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
(Romans 14:8 (ESV))

What is your outlook on life?

Do you think that the world owes your because you are in it? Do you think that the world belongs to you and everything in it is yours for the taking? Do you live your life for yourself and everybody else is just in the way? If your heart is this hardened, are you even capable of love?

Perhaps you aren’t quite that bad in your eyes.

Do you live your life ignoring God and only commit an hour to the Lord on Sunday? Do you sit in the congregation and think that you are better than everyone else there because your sins aren’t that bad? Do you think that you are a good person because you sit in church? Just as sitting in a garage does not make you a car, sitting in a church pew does not make you a Christian!

When Paul wrote these words in his letter to the Romans, he called for one hundred percent commitment to the Lord! Are you capable of having this type of outlook on life? This outlook calls for repentance. It calls for sharing the Gospel. It calls for trust. It calls for love. It calls for surrender. Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior means that you not only look to Jesus for you salvation. It also means that you look to Jesus to be the Lord of your life.

Jesus has full authority!

Does He? Do you truly live for the Lord, or do you only try to surrender part of your life? We are called to surrender everything to His authority?

Do you belong to the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you found that narrow road and gate?

June 10, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV))

Are you able to stay focused on your goals?

Based on your answer, how has your life lived up to what you have just professed about yourself?

We all like to think that we can focus on our goals and, as Paul wrote, keep our eyes on the prize, but how often do we truly achieve our goals? Are you doing what you intended to be doing when you graduated from school? Are you living where you thought you would be living? And here comes the ultimate question. Do you weigh what you want to weigh?

Ouch!

Don’t feel bad, because I don’t either on any of these questions, especially the last one. I do believe that my current state of life is a direct result of God’s plan and my running from His plan. There is God’s perfect will and then, thankfully, there is His prevenient will. He takes all of our mistakes, our sins, and directs us down a better path than the path that we were on. He directs us back to that narrow gate. He leads us according to His will so that our final destination is an eternity with Him. In order to arrive at the destination that He has planned for us, we must keep our eyes on Jesus.

Think about that for a moment.

What happens when you are driving and you find yourself looking at something that is not directly in front of you? Chances are extremely good that you will swerve, that you will stray into the direction that you look. If you look too long, you will find yourself in serious trouble. In order to guarantee that you will stay on the road and arrive at you destination, you must keep your eyes on the road before you. Jesus is that road. He is our destination. He is our goal! He is that narrow gate.

It is important that we must keep our eyes on Jesus. Jesus will guide you on a road that leads to life.

Have you found that narrow road and gate?

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