Do your deeds glorify God?

January 11, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:16 (NIV))

How good are you at letting your light shine?

Let me rephrase that question and ask it like this.

Do others see Jesus in everything that you do?

Several years ago there was a big movement with WWJD – What Would Jesus Do? You would see wristbands and stickers and many other things with this prominently displayed. This did quite a lot in regard to reminding people how to act if they wanted to truly follow Jesus. I also think that this was also used by the enemy to trick believers into being submissive out of “love” when they saw something that was not right in the eyes of God. My favorite thing that I saw that someone created to clarify this statement reminded people that at one point Jesus fashioned a whip and turned over the tables of the money changers.

Does this sound like the type of “love” that the enemy has tricked us into believing about Jesus?

Jesus was compassionate toward the people lost in their sin as He encountered them, but He was also extremely passionate about the Father. He would never do anything that was contrary to what the Father instructed. He would never do anything contrary to God’s Word. His compassion for people, for us, was never to affirm them in their sin. It was to call them home to a loving Father. He was calling sinners to repent and return to the Father through Him!

With that in mind, I venture to say that there will be times when we are called to let our light shine and it will actually mean that we will be filled with the righteous passion for the Father and for His Word that made Jesus turn over tables.

Are you willing to take a stand for what is right in the eyes of the Father? Are you willing to make a public profession that you do not agree with the sinful practices that are being done? Sometimes shining your light means that you are to go into battle against the darkness and not simply try to make friends with it.

If Jesus said that only the Father is good, then in order to do good deeds, we must point people to the only one who is good. Our deeds must point to Jesus as the only way to the Father! That is how we glorify God.

Do your deeds glorify God?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you long for the sacred times with the Lord?

November 9, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years,
(Genesis 1:14 (NIV))

How do you plan and track the events in your life?

If you are like everyone else in the modern world, you plan things on a calendar and even perhaps on a digital calendar down to the year, month, day, hour and minute. You look at the calendar and know how far away a certain event will be. You trust that calendar and your clocks to tell you when something is to happen. For those who have ever owned, or knew someone who owned a very intricate grandfather clock, you know the precision movement of the mechanical pieces that track the time. Some even will track years, months and days. I believe that this passage from Genesis tells us that God has created such a calendar in the heavens with a more precise movement and accuracy than anything that humanity has imagined.

The sad thing is that we try to impose our calendar, along with our will, on God!

We try to force God and His majestic splendor into a box that we define so that we can try to understand Him. Ironically, we even do this when we look to the Lord for the things that He has promised are yet to happen. We read His Word and see what He has laid out according to His Will and then we try to figure out everything according to our understanding and our calendar. Just as you and I cannot truly understand the inner mechanical workings of a fine Swiss watch, we cannot fully understand the more intricate workings of God’s calendar. Even the closest man-made calendar is not perfectly aligned with God’s calendar. There is disagreement as to the accuracy of the current Hebrew calendar, and that was man’s attempt at following what was given to us by God!

“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))

It is my prayer that we, as the Body of Christ, learn to submit our desires to God’s Will and to His calendar.

I realize that we long to see the Lord, but we cannot see God’s calendar from His perspective. He has set everything in motion and we are simply called to be obedient until He comes. We must stand firm in our faith and keep our eyes focused on Jesus. One day soon we will see God’s calendar from a different perspective. The day will come that He takes us to be with Him. That is a sacred time that I am sure He has marked in His calendar that He spoke of in Genesis, the lights in the vault of the sky.

Do you long for the sacred times with the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you alert and of a sober mind?

November 1, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
(1 Peter 5:8 (NIV))

If you take the time to research things that are happening in the world, then you are probably just as saddened by the overwhelming lack of sober minds as I am. It is very obvious that the enemy has not only been looking, he has been finding many to devour!

Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
(1 Peter 5:9 (NIV))

I know many people who claim to possess a faith in Jesus, yet they have abandoned the very things that Jesus said to do. They have abandoned the very reason, to seek and to save the lost, that Jesus said is why He came to this earth. They have replaced it with a social agenda. Is this being alert to the truth of the Gospel and keeping a sober mind in the midst of societal pressures? If we are called to be salt and light to a dying world, shouldn’t we be having an impact on the world instead of the world having an impact on us?

Is this how the devil is able to select who he will devour? Does he select people who don’t know scripture well enough to know what is truth and what is a lie?

How do you become alert and attain a sober mind?

I would venture to say that both of these come from an in-depth relationship with the Lord; one in which you dive deeply into God’s Word and meditate on it day and night. It also comes from a very active life of prayer in which you seek His heart first. Once you know these things, then you will be able to spot the lies of the enemy. You will have put on the full armor of God and will be able to stand firm!

Are you alert and of a sober mind?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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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.
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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.
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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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