Have you been purified by the blood of Jesus?

July 21, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
(1 John 1:7 (NIV))

This passage presents each of us a few questions that we must answer.

Do you desire to walk in the light?

Do you desire fellowship with those who have similar desires?

These should be simple questions to answer, for if we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we know what our answers should be. But, when was the last time that you stopped and reflected upon what is truly in your heart? Do you find things that you try to hide from others and that you try to hide from Jesus? The darkness from things like hatred, lust, greed, and envy can hinder your walk in the light. They can hinder your fellowship with one another. They can hinder your true purification.

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying. We are all sinners in need of a Savior, but we are called to repent. This means that we turn away from our sins and turn toward Jesus. It means that we turn away from the darkness that we still hide in our heart and keep our eyes focused on Jesus. We will slip, for we are still sinful by nature. Paul even wrote about his struggles with this as part of his letters to the church in Rome.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
(Romans 7:15-20 (NIV))

We are called to walk in the light of Jesus, yet, the person that we understand to be responsible for witnessing to the Gentiles and starting what we know as the church struggled with sin in his life. How do you rectify this in your walk of faith?

I truly wish that the world understood the struggle. The world looks upon people who profess a faith in Jesus as hypocrites. They claim that we don’t always do what we say we need to be doing. To be honest with you, the world is right! What they don’t understand is that being a follower of Jesus does not instantly make you just like Jesus. It is a life long process. What makes the difference is our willingness to repent and try again. When we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we acknowledge that we need help. We acknowledge that we will stumble and that we will fall far more often than we care to admit. Jesus looks at the heart. When we accept Him, He only sees the grace that has been given to us. He doesn’t see the sin. Over the course of our walk of faith, He will teach us and guide us as the Holy Spirit works in us to remove the darkness. He works in such a way that even though we may still sin, He sees the grace and mercy and purity that we have accepted as our own.

What does the Lord see in you?

Have you been purified by the blood of Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you long for His light?

July 12, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:5 (NIV))

The world is a dark place. Sin and evil are the new normal, but only for a little while. We know the end of the story. We are just living in the times before the end comes. These are the times when evil increases just as we are told in the parable of the wheat and the tares. While we wait, we have a light that we can shine in our small corners of the world. If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have a light that will penetrate the darkness. Even the smallest flame from a candle chases the darkness away.

How is your flame?

I know that it is nothing in comparison to what the Lord will bring when He returns, but we are called to share His light for others to see. We are to use the light that is inside of us to allow others to see their way to Him. The more that we share that light, the more people we will have searching the skies for His return.

Do you search the skies for His return?

We have been given a promise just as the disciples were given a promise. He will return!

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
(Acts 1:11 (NIV))

Do you long for His return?

Do you long to see His light?

Do you long to live in His light for all eternity?

His light will defeat the darkness. His light has already overcome sin and death. His light will return to finish everything just as was promised. When He returns, there will be no darkness.

Do you long for His light?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Why are you still carrying your burdens?

June 27, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
(1 Peter 5:7 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. If there is one thing that this sinful, fallen world is good at, it is good at creating anxiety in those who call this world home. Professing a faith in Jesus does not mean that the world will not do all within its power to burden you and to give you stress, it just means that we have an assurance that the anxiety that we feel can be lifted, that it can be carried by the One who created this world. And, no, He did not create it in it’s current state. This world was created as perfection. It is we who have turned it into the mess that it has become.

For the second time in as many days, I find myself singing the refrain from a hymn that says it better than anything I have ever heard or could possibly ever write.

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
(Helen Howarth Lemmel)

When we cast all of our anxiety upon Jesus, this is exactly what happens!

The key word in that last sentence is “when,” for we have a tendency to hold onto our burdens and our anxieties far too long. We let them weigh us down. We let them control us. We let them drag us deeper into the very thing that we are burdened with. We don’t have to be burdened. We don’t have to carry anxiety. We don’t have to live according to the world. We have a risen Savior who has defeated the world and has willingly taken our sins, our burdens and our anxieties upon Himself. All that we have to do is surrender them up to Him.

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))

Why are you still carrying your burdens?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you shining His light for the world to see?

November 18, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
(Psalms 119:105 (NIV))

God’s Word is Truth. Truth is spiritual light. Are we shining the light that God has given us so that others may see their path clearly?

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14 (NIV))

Take it one day at a time. Take it one hour at a time. Take it one second at a time. We cannot plan how to shine God’s light, we can only be a willing vessel when the opportunity arises. Do you have a second to spare?

Take each second as it comes and shine forth the light that God has placed within you, the Light of Jesus Christ.

Think of all the people who you meet every day who need God’s Light.

Are you shining His light for the world to see?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you have the light that comes from God’s Word?

October 18, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
(Psalms 119:130 (NIV))

The Word of God is many things. It brings wisdom, understanding, truth, and light.

Let’s take a look at this in a different context from what we normally think about with respect to God’s Word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:1-14 (NIV))

The psalmist hit the nail on the head when he wrote those words. The Word of God does give light. Jesus is the Word made flesh. Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus gives understanding.

Isn’t it amazing how God will pre-tell what He is going to do even through people who do not realize that they are His prophets. I doubt that the psalmist actually knew that these words would literally come true in the form of Jesus, God with us.

I am so very thankful that they did come to pass!

Do you have the light that comes from God’s Word?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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May we reflect that light for all to see!

January 19, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
(John 9:4-5 (NIV))

Does anyone else relate this passage to Genesis?

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning–the first day.
(Genesis 1:3-5 (NIV))

We think of physical light and darkness when we read Genesis 1:3-5, but is there more to the meaning of light in this passage that we have overlooked? Is there more to day and night than we understand?

All throughout history, people have had to take precautions at night from things such as attacks from an enemy. It is also difficult to see where you are going and easier to stumble and fall in the dark, It has always been safer to be out during the day then at night. Cities built fortified walls to protect themselves. They posted guards at night to alert the inhabitants of an attack. Even in the history of our own country, the enemy came at night by surprise often leaving death and destruction.

Do you see any similarities between the physical world and the spiritual world?

We are more prone to attacks from the enemy when we are in spiritual darkness. It is much easier to get lost when we are already going down a dark path of sin. What looks good in the darkness of sin rapidly overtakes us. If we saw this in the light, we would be totally revolted at what we see, for it leads to death and destruction.

God declared that light is good. Jesus came as the light of the world. If we profess Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then we help to shine His light. One day, that light will be removed and those who are left who have not helped to shine His light will be totally surrounded by darkness. With the things that I see and the reports of things that I read, the removal of the light may be closer than we think.

Until that time, let there be light! May we reflect that light for all to see!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you experienced His light dawning in your life?

December 30, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
      for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
(Psalms 112:4 (NIV))

How would you classify the current year as it is quickly coming to a close?

If you are like most people, I am sure that you will say that it has been something extremely out of the ordinary.

Everyone in the world has been inundated with panic, shortages and quarantine just to skim the surface. It has definitely been an interesting and, dare I say, a dark period of time. Large cities look as if they are desolate. Whole countries are on lock down, and worldwide social and political strife seems to be the normal modus operandi for the last several months. On the surface, things are not looking good.

But,…

Has you faith increased?

Have you found renewed hope?

Do you still find joy in the the simple things of life?

Have you become closer to your family?

Have you drawn closer to the Lord?

I have heard many people say that they feel that God is using this time in history to draw people into a closer relationship with Him. Many of the distractions are no longer an option. The hectic pace of our lives has slowed considerably, and this has allowed people to search for meaning. Many people are turning to God’s Word and turning to prayer.

Have you found a renewed desire to draw closer to the Lord?

Have you experienced His light dawning in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you gotten lost on a detour?

December 9, 2020

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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))

According to the world, there are many different ways to get to heaven.

What do you believe? What do you know to be the truth? Do you believe that they are the same thing?

Each religion in the world professes that they have the only path to get to god. You will notice that I chose to use a little “g,” for the gods that they claim to be able to reach are not the God of the universe. Each religion sets out a path that you must follow to achieve a higher level. Everything that they claim gets you closer to their god is something that you must do, but our God, the God of the universe did something to reach us!

He sent His Word! He sent His only begotten Son.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:1-5 (NIV))

Jesus came to shine the light!

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:14 (NIV))

Jesus came as one of us, a living man of flesh. We can never be good enough. We can never earn our way to God. Because of this, God came to us! Jesus was sent by God, as God made man, to bring us back to Himself.

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. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

The world tells us that we have to get better in order to see God. God tells us that He is better than the world. He has reached out to us to share His goodness, righteousness, mercy and grace. Personally, I know that I am not capable of anything on my own. I was drowning in a sea of sin. God reached out and rescued me. I didn’t have to rescue myself. Grace was and forever will be a gift. All that you have to do is accept it. If you are required to do something of your own strength, then you are on the wrong path.

Have you gotten lost on a detour?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you put on your armor?

September 4, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
(Romans 13:12 (NIV))

I’m feeling weary tonight!

I’m sure that you have felt this way at some point in this last year. There is more worldly uncertainty and pressure than any of us have ever experienced before. I don’t need to tell you that we are living in and through very unusual times. We are seeing good being called evil and evil being called good. We are seeing lawlessness. We are seeing saber rattling and wars. We are seeing peace treaties that are foretold in prophecy. We are seeing what the world labels as racial tensions. We are told that nation will rise against nation. The original Greek could actually be translated as ethnicity groups.

Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
(Matthew 24:7 (NIV))

And the one thing that is on everyone’s mind, whether you believe that it is a true risk or greatly exaggerated, is COVID-19. I’ve even read that the suicide rate is up for a group of people that should know where to turn for their strength. Perhaps you have seen this as well. The reports are saying that pastors are committing suicide at an alarmingly high rate. Why has faith disappeared? Why are people who should be encouraging the Body of Christ to look up now doing such a thing as what is being reported? The Body of Christ should recognize the signs and dress for battle for our Savior will soon be here!

When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.
(Luke 21:28 (NIV))

With everything that is going on in the world, who can you turn to in order to get an unbiased and honest perspective on events? We are to look up! We are to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. We are to prepare for what is coming. We are to arm ourselves with His Word, for when we know God’s Word, we don’t lose site of the promises that God is unfolding before us.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(Ephesians 6:10-17 (NIV))

Have you put on your armor?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What are you clothed in?

August 25, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
(Colossians 3:12 (NIV))

Is it just me, or do these sound very similar to something else that we are told about?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

We are to clothe, or cover, ourselves with these traits. We, as the Body of Christ, are to strive to live our lives in such a way that we shine the light of Jesus in our circle of influence. When the world shows us sexual immorality, idolatry, hatred, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, envy and drunkenness, we are to show them the light and love of Jesus.

I want you to think of this in relationship to putting on the full armor of God. Nobody puts on armor without clothing themselves with the proper attire beforehand. We must prepare ourselves with the correct attire before put on the armor and before we are truly prepared to go into battle for the Lord. We do battle against the enemy because we love the light. We do battle against the enemy because we long to see his captives set free. We are former prisoners and must clothe ourselves with compassion for the lost, kindness to the sinner, humility to the enemy, gentleness and patience with the captives as we share the good news of salvation. Without these as a proper foundation, are we truly able to put on the full armor of God?

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(Ephesians 6:10-17 (NIV))

There are certain seasons of the year where it is recommended to dress in layers. We are in a season where we must spiritually dress in layers, starting with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Once we are clothed in these, we will be better prepared to add armor!

What are you clothed in?

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