What are you focused on?

December 10, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
(Titus 3:3-8 (NIV))

Yes, they are profitable for everyone.

What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?
(Mark 8:36)

There are some things that are more profitable to man than others. One of these is salvation through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We need to focus on Godly things and not on earthly things, for earthly things are foolish in the site of God. It is by God’s grace and mercy that we no longer are living of the world. We are in the world, but we must set our eyes on higher things.

What are you focused on? What is the prize that you seek?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness!

October 10, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.
(2 Timothy 2:19 (NIV))

I am sure that you have encountered people who give lip service to Jesus by saying that they are Christians, yet their actions do not speak the same message. Many of these people believe that they can do whatever they want because they have been forgiven. It is true that they have been forgiven if they earnestly accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, but, this does not mean that they can do whatever they want. Paul wrote the contrary to this belief when he wrote to Timothy. Jesus even told the prostitute:

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
(John 8:11b)

He did not tell her to do whatever she wanted, because she was forgiven. He told her that she was forgiven, and to NOT sin anymore!

This is a far cry from what many people believe today. Jesus never taught that it was okay to sin as long as you believed in Him. True belief in Jesus does not allow sin to enter, for Jesus and sin are diametrically opposed to each other just as day is opposite of night. They can never co-exist.

People do have the natural world to deal with, however. We have the distractions of everyday life that come into our view. How can this be stopped? By focusing on Jesus and ignoring everything else that is not from Him. Just as your eyes can focus on certain details and “blur” the other things within the range of vision, so too can our spirits “blur” the things that are not of God. When we do not focus on God, these other things do not appear blurry, and they attract us, or distract us, from where we should be focusing.

What are you focusing on?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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God gave us the ultimate gift!

September 17, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
(Romans 8:1 (NIV))

Before Jesus came to this world to live and teach, and then to die for our sins, everyone lived under condemnation. No one was worthy to approach the Throne of God as righteous and blameless.

No one in all of history could have earned salvation on their own!

God knew that this was an impossibility due to the sinful nature of man ever since Satan was allowed dominion over this world. Still, God had a plan for a redemptive gift.

“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 he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men 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 his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
(John 3:16-21)

God gave us the ultimate gift! The gift is freedom from condemnation through Jesus Christ. All of our sins are forgiven once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t forget Jesus!

September 15, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.
(John 6:16-21 (NIV))

I know that we are all familiar with this story, but there are some things that just need repeating.

Jesus was not with them.

They were caught in a storm.

They saw Jesus and they were not afraid.

They were willing to take Jesus in.

The storm calmed.

They got to where they were going.

How many times do we try to fight the storms of this world without Jesus? How many of these times are the storms caused by our failure to take Jesus with us? Just like the disciples, how many times do we realize that we should have taken Jesus with us to begin with?

We are only human and human pride makes us think that we can do things on our own. It makes us think that we don’t have to involve Jesus in every aspect of our lives.

Think about that human trait and then think about what happens in your life when you don’t involve Jesus. I would venture to say that most of the time things don’t go as you plan.

Why do we, those who proclaim that Jesus is their Lord and Savior, often leave Jesus behind? Why do we think that Jesus could not be interested in the small stuff in our lives? Why do we ignore God’s grace and mercy when it is not on our own terms and timeline?

We must walk with God at all times. We must learn to not leave Jesus behind. We must learn to realize that Jesus is the one who calms the storms. He is the one who safely guides us to where we are being called.

Don’t forget Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Birth pains seem to be getting so much closer!

September 3, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, `I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
(Mark 13:5-8 (NIV))

I know that Jesus told us that these things would occur and that they would increase. I know that Jesus is returning. I know that God’s plan is unfolding. I know that the prophesies will come to pass, still, I find it very sad that our world has come to this.

We see not only wars, but outright slaughter of whole groups of people. Most of them are part of the Body of Christ. We see Israel being attacked. We see people denouncing Israel as barbaric and many are comparing Israel to Nazi Germany. All of this while the true barbaric activities go unanswered and unchallenged. Sadly, it appears that our own government now has policies in place that deny Israel and support the barbaric groups that are attacking them.

The anniversary of 9/11 is rapidly approaching. I just read something that makes my heart very heavy with grief. It is reported that eleven commercial aircraft have been confiscated, or should I say that they were stolen, by Islamic extremists. I pray that these reports are wrong, but my spirit tells me otherwise.

How is your relationship with God?

How is your relationship with Jesus?

Is your name written in the Lambs Book of Life?

Would you, could you proclaim Jesus as your Lord and Savior even if it meant your physical death?

Birth pains seem to be getting so much closer!

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you prepared for Jesus to be revealed?

September 1, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
(1 Peter 1:13 (NIV))

This passage has at least three possible interpretations, all of which are very valid, for, many passages within the Bible have both a near-term and a far-term meaning.

When Jesus is revealed to us on a personal level as our Lord and Savior, we are allowed this revelation because we have had our mind prepared for this impartation of the truth. We have been taken on a personal journey that has allowed us to be shown the truth so that we will recognize and acknowledge it. We have been shown grace and given the means to partake of it.

Jesus will be revealed to the world. As believers, we must keep our focus and constantly stay alert and self-controlled so that we may be ready for Jesus whenever He may manifest Himself, whether it is through others or when He physically returns. Jesus is revealed to the world in every action and word that we, as the Body of Christ, do and say. With this in mind, we must be prepared for action and self-controlled so that the world will see Jesus in our actions.

Finally, Jesus will return and will be revealed to the world. We do not know when, or if we will be around. There is even uncertainty among the Body of Christ whether the church will be in the world when this revelation takes place.

No matter when He is revealed, we must prepare ourselves so that we may prepare the way for His return. We must set our hope fully on the grace that is ours through His atoning sacrifice. We must pave the way for others to accept salvation.

Are you prepared for action? Are you self-controlled? Where is your hope?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is sincerity your goal?

August 6, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
(Romans 12:9-16 (NIV))

Simple rules to live by. A simple philosophy to hold fast to when all around you is falling apart.

If that is the case, then why do many of us cling to what is evil and reject what is good? Perhaps we will never truly know why human nature has sunk to a point where sin and Satan cloud our hearts, minds and spirits. They are clouded so much that we cannot see what is good when it is right before our eyes. Even believers in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior have trouble with these characteristics and discerning which is from God.

I cannot remember who said it, but there is a quote that says something to the effect that Christianity is a good thing, but it is too bad that nobody has ever practiced it. Following Jesus is a good thing, however, in our human nature and in our sinful flesh, we cannot follow Jesus on our own without making mistakes. Perhaps the person who spoke those words did not understand that we are not perfect, and as a result, our worship of Jesus as Lord and Savior, and our attempts to follow Him are far from perfect. Perhaps the most important aspect that they missed is that they are not perfect and are in need of a savior to justify themselves to God.

We must strive to be like Jesus in all that we do, yet, we must not be proud or conceited, for it is not anything that we have done that has allowed us special favor with God. It was a sacrifice planned by God that has allowed us to be forgiven when we are less than perfect. Perhaps the person who spoke about nobody practicing Christianity did not take into consideration the word “practice.” The last time I looked, the word “practice” meant to do something over and over again in hopes of getting better at it.

This is my goal, to get better at following Jesus. I desire to practice Christianity so that the words in Romans are more than mere words. What is your goal?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What does the world think of you?

August 5, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
(Matthew 10:21-22 (NIV))

What does the world think of you? Does it welcome you with open arms as one of its own, as one who embraces the lies that the world passes as truth? Do you feel at home in this world or do you long for a place that God calls you to?

This world is beautiful, after all it was created by God, but we must not lose sight of the fact that we, through the sin of Adam and Eve, have relinquished this world over to the enemy. Because of this, the world is not what it may seem. When we see forests that God has created, the world sees a chance for monetary gain by “harvesting” the trees. When we see love, the world sees lust. When we see salvation through the gift of Jesus Christ dying on the cross, the world sees foolishness. The world sees us as fools and it will soon come to the point where the world will see us as criminals because of what we believe and whom we believe in!

When the world hates you, take heart, for the world hated Jesus!

Because of this hatred, Jesus was crucified. We must not forget that He arose, and because He arose, we have the gift of eternal salvation if we call upon His name.

It is true that the world hated Jesus when He walked among us. It is also true that those who hate Jesus today will hate you as well, but we must take heart, for we have overcome this hatred and this world through the blood of Jesus. There is one catch. We must tell others of this grace and mercy. We must identify ourselves with Jesus. We must open ourselves up to the world by proclaiming Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We must stand firm. We must not take our eyes off of Jesus.

Again, I ask you to stop and reflect on this one simple question. What does the world think of you?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you think of the current situation in Israel?

July 23, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.
(Romans 15:27 (NIV))

What do you think of the current situation in Israel?

Do you buy the media’s claims or do you rely on God’s Word for the truth?

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure
(Psalms 122:6 (NIV))

Jerusalem and Israel are key to what God has planned for this world. They are so important to God’s plan, that He restored Israel to their land after almost two thousand years of exile. They are so important to God’s plan, that He protected them during the wars that they have faced. They are so important to God’s plan, that He is still protecting them and He will miraculously protect them as things unfold.

Do you stand with Israel?

Think about that question. Think about your answer and what it means to your faith.

Do you believe that God chose Israel to be His people? Do you believe that God has blessed the nations through Israel? Do you believe that what Paul wrote of in Romans is true? The Jewish people are the people through whom God gave the world His Only Begotten Son, Jesus, for our redemption.

Why was Israel chosen to be the nation to bring forth our Lord and Savior, Jesus?

Look at the history of the nation of Israel. It can all be directly traced to the faith of one man, Abraham. Because of Abraham’s faith, God put into motion our redemption. He also put into motion the very things that we now see unfolding.

Is the nation of Israel perfect? Just like any nation, it is run by people and people are far from perfect. Israel, however, has one thing going for it that all other nations of the world do not. They have the promises that God has given. They have the written promises of what will happen. These promises seemed worthless until after World War II. Since that time, God’s promises have always been fulfilled.

We, as the Body of Christ, have been blessed through Israel. We must bless Israel as Paul has instructed.

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your desire?

June 30, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:12-17 (NIV))

Many people believe that Jesus promised a life of ease if you accept Him as your Lord and Savior. It is true in heaven, but it is not true in this world.

Paul, in his letter to Timothy, stated clearly that those who seek after God will be persecuted. Today, many preach that God wants to prosper believers, but they do not preach the fact that Satan wishes to crush believers.

All will be persecuted at some time in their lives. What we, as believers, must remember is that we are to be an example of God’s grace and mercy even during times of persecution. The sign of a true believer will be the way that we handle the persecution that is to come.

Stay in God’s Word so that you may be strong in the faith for when those times come. Paul is an excellent example of strong faith and great persecution. He was stoned, beaten, shipwrecked and left for dead on many occasions.

I do not know what persecutions that each of us may face, but I do know that Jesus said that in this world we would have troubles. Jesus always spoke the truth, no matter how harsh it may sound. Paul spoke what he had learned from studying and his desire to know Jesus more.

What is your desire?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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