How does Jesus know you?

January 26, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
(Matthew 15:20 (NIV))

With this statement from Jesus, nothing could be clearer!

That only leaves the obvious next question.

Are you doing the will of the Father?

This requires a complete surrender to the Lord and an understanding of what His Will is in order to answer truthfully. Perhaps it is better to ask if it is your desire to do the will of the Father, for even after professing a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you will falter in your walk of faith. You will inadvertently give in to your sinful human nature even though you desire to live a righteous life. Even Paul had these moments.

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))

Do you truly desire to do the will of the Father?

If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you have realized that you are a sinner in need of a savior. You have realized that you are not capable of perfection in the eyes of God, but through Jesus, God sees you as He sees Jesus. He sees a spotless, sinless person. With that in mind, I venture to say that one of the most important parts of doing the will of the Father is accepting the grace and mercy that He freely offers through the cross of Jesus. Since God does not wish for anyone to perish, it is His will that you accept the grace and mercy given through Jesus.

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))

How does Jesus know you?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Choose wisdom. Choose life!

January 23, 2023

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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.
(Matthew 7:13 (NIV))

If you haven’t figured this out, the narrow gate is Jesus. It also represents the wisdom to select Jesus and to stay focused on Jesus in all that you do!

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is thought to be a one time salvation occurrence. To be honest with you, accepting the salvation freely given through the cross is a one time occurrence, but it takes a lifetime of dedication to follow Jesus in all that you do. Too many people fail to grow in their faith. They fail to get to know the Word of God. They fail to realize that there is so much more that God wants them to know than Jesus saves. There is wisdom and truth in God’s Word that is designed to teach us how to walk in His light in all that we do.

Do you want that wisdom?

Do you want the wisdom that leads to righteousness and salvation? Do you want the wisdom that leads to a strong faith? Do you want the wisdom that leads to maturity in Christ? Do you want the wisdom that leads to life everlasting?

I don’t know about you, but all of these things are things are what I long for!

Have you taken a serious look at your life and your priorities? Do you long for the things of God or are you still so focused on the things of this world that you miss Jesus in all that you do?

The decision is entirely yours!

Choose wisdom. Choose life!

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you willing to answer the call?

January 19, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
(Matthew 9:38 (NIV))

Have you truly stopped and given this passage thought?

Let me explain my question.

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, we have been given instructions. We have been given a job assignment that is supposed to be our primary task as believers in Jesus.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
(Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV))

In other words, we are supposed to be working the harvest field!

If we ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers, we are asking Him to send us! The most important question that we must then ask ourselves is how will we answer. Will we be as willing to go as Isaiah was?

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:8 (NIV))

It is said that God loves a cheerful giver. That is true for so much more than just our finances. It involves our time! God longs for us to be willing to work the harvest field. He longs for us to tell others about the amazing grace that is available to anyone who will simply repent and receive. Are you willing to give of your time so that others may know of God’s great love? Are you willing to share the Gospel to a world desperately in need of salvation? Are you willing to work the harvest? Are you willing to put yourself out there in a world that is becoming more and more hateful of anything to do with the Gospel, with Jesus?

Are you willing to answer the call?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We are to be faithful and diligent until the appointed time!

January 17, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
    it speaks of the end
    and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
    it will certainly come
    and will not delay.
(Habakkuk 2:3 (NIV))

Are you tired of waiting?

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then there are several things that you know will happen because we have been told that they would happen. Still, waiting is never easy, especially when you see the things that are happening in this world, and you know that the only hope that this world has is Jesus!

If you were taken in the rapture at this very moment, would you be upset? Are there things in this world that you don’t want to let go of? Take a good look at your priorities and be completely honest with yourself when you answer.

Most believers long to be with Jesus., yet, we are torn. We desire to be with Jesus in the presence of the Father, yet, we all have someone whom we love who has not come to the saving knowledge of Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. For this, I am willing to wait. For this, I am praying for friends and family to repent and come to salvation through Jesus.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3:9 (NIV))

I realize that I am being selfish when I long for the appointed time. I am guilty of seeing this promise through the eyes of someone who has already accepted their salvation. I need to open my eyes and see this as Jesus sees it. I need to realize that the Father does not wish for any to perish. If that is the Father’s wish, then it must be mine as well.

Still, there is coming a time, an appointed time, that will not delay. We must be prepared for that time as it rapidly approaches. We must also be diligent in our assignment, for we have not been given a reprieve.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV))

We are to continue to make disciples. We are to continue baptizing. We are to continuing teaching.

We are to be faithful and diligent until the appointed time!

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Why do we think we have it under control?

January 12, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
     and lean not on your own understanding;
(Proverbs 3:5 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes us think that we are smart enough to be the masters of our own fate? Why do we think that we can control anything in our lives when we can’t even control the events of a single day?

If you stop and analyze the fall from grace, it was a sin of pride. Humanity was tricked into wanting to be just like God, and as a result, all of human history has been about our feeble attempts to be our own gods, to be in control. We like the self-made man concept. We like the long shot. We like the one who bucks the status quo and does it there way. In fact, there was a very popular song titled “I Did it My Way!”

If you look at the history of humanity since the fall from grace, it has been a shambles. One person wants to be in control and the next thing we have is conflict due to the fact that what one person wants is not what another person wants. Everyone trusts only in themselves! Everyone is only looking out for the best interests of numero uno, number one, themselves.

Can you tell with one hundred percent certainty what a day will bring?

Can you tell with one hundred percent certainty that you will even live one more day?

If we are not capable of answering yes to these two questions, why do we only put stock in our own understanding? Why do we only trust in ourselves?

Take a look back on your life. We all have times where we feel that we are facing stress, and there are also times when we feel that we have a glimpse of peace. These is a very good probability that stress far outweighs any peace that you may have had due to your own endeavors. I have found that even in the midst of stress all that I need to do is turn it over to the Lord in prayer. I have found that He is so much better at being God than I am or could ever be.

To put it simply, let go and let God . . .

Why do we think we have it under control?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you believe in the gift of God?

January 10, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

I don’t know about you, but that is one wage that I do not want to collect, and if you don’t repent, it is one that you will collect.

I realize that this statement is rather harsh, but if you stop to think about the consequences of not repenting and accepting Jesus, then this statement is actually sugar coated.

Let me take a step back and ask one important question. What do you think of when you think of death? If you only think of the cessation of the physical body, you are missing out on the eternal aspect and consequences of your existence. Humanity is not simply a physical creature. We are not simply a temporary physical existence with a spirit and soul. We are an eternal spirit and soul with a temporary physical body. We are only passing through this world. This world is not our home! With this in mind, there is another type of death that is far worse than physical death. There is an eternal death that the enemy wants you to not know about. He will do anything that he can to make you think that it isn’t real. He wants to destroy you, both body and soul, for he hates humanity.

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
(Matthew 10:28 (NIV))

If you have never heard this in this way, it may be time to pay attention. God doesn’t want any to perish, but that decision is your. He can’t make it for you. All that He can do, and has done, is offer a way for you to escape this death. He has provided a sinless, spotless sacrifice through Jesus to take all of the sin of everyone who has ever lived. All that you have to do is accept this great gift of amazing grace!

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
(Romans 6:18 (NIV))

All that you have to do is believe!

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 have one more very important question to ask.

Do you believe in the gift of God?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Don’t overlook what is right in front of you!

December 27, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”
(Luke 2:28-32 (NIV))

What do you do now that you have seen your salvation?

We just celebrated the birth of Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Unlike Simeon, we don’t have to wait our entire lives to see God’s promise fulfilled. We can see it every single day of our lives. We should see it in everything that we do. We have grace and mercy given to us in all circumstances of our lives. All that we have to do is repent and seek forgiveness for our sinful actions.

Have you ever thought that this is why we have things in our lives that we shouldn’t have? Let me ask this in a slightly different approach. Have you ever had something so readily available to you that you took it for granted? Have you ever gone to the extreme and waited until it was too late to realize just what you had available to you?

It is human nature to miss what is right before us. We do it with missed relationships, missed job opportunities, missed witnessing opportunities, and so many more. I have seen people, and I have also been one to miss opportunities. We all do it. Why do we miss things right in front of us while we long for the very things that we miss? Do we think things have to be complicated and because of this, miss the simple things that will have the most meaning and impact?

Simeon knew what he and the whole world were missing. He had prayed for salvation all of his life. He knew what it was that he was expecting and he knew it when he saw it. Why don’t we know God’s grace and mercy when we see it? Why do so many people look right at Jesus and see something else than what He truly is?

Do you recognize your salvation?

Don’t overlook what is right in front of you!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you ready to meet Jesus?

December 26, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
(Luke 2:8-14 (NIV))

What an honor it must have been to be the first to hear the good news! The shepherds must have been terrified by the presence of the angels, after all, angels were not, and are still not an every day occurrence.

Luckily for us, God’s plan does not discriminate against us for not being there. In fact, it is probably with mixed blessings that we are embraced as part of God’s Kingdom. We do not have the first hand experience of having seen the angels, the star, or Jesus’ life. Sometimes, I wonder if I would have believed if I lived at the time of Jesus!

On the other hand, we have the faith of millions of people who have gone before us. We have the New Testament, the hundreds of years of prophesy study that proves Jesus is King of kings, the Messiah. It may be easier for someone today to come to faith than it was in Jesus’ day. Yet, through all of this “historical proof”, I sometimes feel empty. I think it is the desire of every believer to be able to go back in time and be a witness to the miracles and hear the teachings of Jesus firsthand.

We celebrate the birth of Jesus and look back in awe to the miracles. At the same time, we should look around us in awe of what God is doing today and look to the not-to-distant future and know what God is going to do. Yesterday we celebrated the First Coming.

Some day, some tomorrow, we will celebrate the Second Coming.

Are you ready to meet Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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It is a bed fit for a king!

December 22, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
(Luke 2:7 (ESV))

Everyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior knows the story of His lowly birth.

To be honest with you, I am still amazed that He stepped out of heaven to become one of us. How many kings would give up their throne? How many kings would exchange places with the least of their kingdom? How many kings would willingly walk among their people as one of them, only to willingly die so that their people might live?

God’s gift of grace is amazing. It is beyond comprehension, yet, it still happened. It all began with a single birth that the world didn’t even notice, and today, over two thousand years since that birth, that single birth has been used to divide time. It has been used to bring grace and salvation. It has also been used to bring division between those who do not believe and those who do.

Never before or since has a single birth been so crucial to all of humanity!

To those who profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I want to take a moment and wish you a Merry Christmas, for His birth was the beginning of God’s plan to bring about salvation. It is when our Lord stepped out of heaven and went to sleep as a baby in a manger. No bed has ever performed such an important role, for this feeding trough, this manger, became the bed for the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

Have you ever thought of the manger in this manner? Have you ever given thought to how a lowly animal feeding trough became the symbol of the birth of Jesus? The manger now symbolizes new beginnings. It symbolizes grace and mercy. More importantly, it symbolizes God’s love for us.

It is a bed fit for a king!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Don’t forget the true meaning of Christmas!

December 21, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

I realize that I used this passage yesterday, but it is such a wonderful and truthful passage of grace, hope and love. It is one in which God sent His Son to redeem the world.

He first proclaimed this great news to shepherds.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
(Luke 2:8-14 (NIV))

As time progressed, Jesus fulfilled God’s purpose for His time on earth! It is such a simple, yet profound plan. God’s plan is based on love and restoration of a sinful, fallen creation.

Nothing is left to say, except one critical statement.

Don’t forget the true meaning of Christmas!

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