Happy New Year!

December 29, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
(Revelation 1:8 (NIV))

God is good all the time! Yesterday, today and tomorrow, He is the same. He is the Alpha and the Omega. Now that we are ending a year that has had the whole world afraid to be in public and as we are entering a new year that has many people worried and wondering, we must remember that God is God and He never changes. No matter what happens when January 1st comes, God is still God.

If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, your joy is not tied to the events of this world. No matter what may happen in this world, we should have a true sense of joy. We should have a true sense of peace.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV))

There are a few words in this passage from Philippians that stand out to me.

Rejoice.

Always.

Peace.

Guard.

Hearts.

Minds.

If we profess that God is the Almighty, and we also profess that Jesus is Lord, why do we look at this world with such a pessimistic outlook? Are we truly allowing our hearts and minds to be guarded by the peace of God?

Think about that as we step into what I am certain will be a very uncertain year. No matter what we may face, we must remember who is in charge and in whom we have placed our faith. With the promises that we have been given by God, we should be able to face anything in this world with a joy and a peace that is beyond the ability of the world to understand. We just need to make sure that we don’t fail to understand.

Happy New Year!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Something to remember as we face a new year!

December 28, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
(Joshua 1:9 (NIV))

Do you worry about the events transpiring in this nation and in the world?

Does the uncertainty of a new year bring fear or do you trust completely in the Lord as His timeline unfolds?

I have seen many different points of view being offered as the last year unfolded. I am seeing many different points of view being offer up as to what to expect in the coming year and beyond. If you pay attention to the world, you will probably find yourself fearful. But, if you place your faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have professed that your hope is not of this world. You have professed that you are living in this world, but you are not of this world.

What do you see coming in the new year? Perhaps I should ask what do you hope to see in the new year? Do you expect to see the world return to a state of normalcy similar to what it was just a few short months ago? From what I have been reading and studying, I honestly do not believe that this world will ever again see what we had previously come to know as normal.

If you are a student of God’s Word, then you should be a student of prophecy, for it is estimated that approximately one forth of the Bible is prophecy. Many of the prophecies have already come to fulfillment. Others are being fulfilled right before our eyes. To be honest with you, there are things that have been unfolding and are continuing to unfold that I honestly don’t think can be reversed or even stopped. Does this cause fear? Are you discouraged by the current state of the world? Are you looking at this world from your perspective or from God’s perspective? If we place our trust in the Lord, then why do we fear what is to come?

We know the outcome!

If we truly profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior and we know the outcome of all things, then what do we have to fear! Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and look up!

Something to remember as we face a new year!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

December 23, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy–
(Jude 1:24 (NIV))

This one statement, from a worldly point of view, is a difficult thing to grasp. The world is treacherous. The enemy is constantly trying to kill or destroy. Who can possibly keep themselves from falling into the traps that the world presents? Who can possibly keep others from falling into those very same traps? Every person who has ever lived has faced the traps that the enemy has set for each of us. No one has ever been exempt from this temptation. All of created humanity has failed.

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

There is one who was sent to save us from falling. He is not part of creation. He is the Creator. He came to earth as one of us. He took it upon himself to be what He created. He took it upon himself to save His creation so that we could have a way to keep from falling. He took the sins of the world upon himself so that we could be sin free. Only one has that authority. Only God can possess such power.

At this time of year, we think of Jesus as a little baby in a manger, but we must not lose site of the fact that He was also God. Even as an infant, He possessed authority over all of creation. This Christmas morning, stop and think about your children. Thank God for the grace and mercy that are celebrated through the birth of a child. Stop and think about the gift that child gave you. It is a gift that only God could give.

Praise God!

to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
(Jude 1:25 (NIV))

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Rejoice in God’s light! His name is Jesus!

December 21, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
(Philippians 4:4 (NIV))

If you had to proclaim the birth of a baby in your family, you would be joyful. You would exude enthusiasm. You would rejoice in the fact that God has blessed you with a new life to share. It would be an extremely happy occasion. Unfortunately, though, that baby would be born with the very same curse that we all face. That baby would be bound by the law of sin and death.

Now, consider that a baby was born into the family two thousand years ago. This baby was no ordinary baby. I am sure that He brought joy to the lives of those whom He called His family, but He was so much more. He came into this world to be a part of the family of each and every single person who has ever lived. This baby came into the world to bring great joy. God sent His Son, Jesus, to be one of us. Unlike everybody who was born under the law of sin and death, Jesus came into the world sin free. He grew up sin free and He remained sin free even to obedience that called Him to die on the cross. Through Jesus, we truly have grace and mercy. Through the baby Jesus, we truly have something to rejoice about. The infant that came into this world symbolizes a rebirth of our human natures.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
(Philippians 4:4 (NIV))

“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 (NIV))

Rejoice in God’s light! His name is Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you filled with the joy of the Lord?

December 11, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Blessed are they whose ways are blameless,
    who walk according to the law of the LORD.
Blessed are they who keep his statutes
    and seek him with all their heart.
(Psalms 119:1-2 (NIV))

Christmas is rapidly approaching in a year that has been far from ordinary!

With everything that has been happening in the world, have you been able to stay true to the faith that you profess? Have you been able to stand firm in your walk with the Lord? Have you done things this year that you said that you would never do? Have you been embarrassed by your actions?

This is a time to reflect on our sinful, human nature. This is also a time to reflect on what God has done for us by sending His Son to earth to give us grace. It is also a time to reflect on our attitude towards this gift. Do we truly keep His statutes and seek Him with all our heart? This Christmas morning, I pray that you are truly thankful and joyous, celebrating the true meaning of the day. I pray that you are able to lift your eyes to the heavens and truly be thankful even in the midst of the current state of this world, for this world is not our source of joy!

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.
(1 John 2:15 (NIV))

Do you love the world? Do you find yourself looking to the world for your joy? As we draw near to the end of an unusual and difficult year, it should be obvious that the world is not where we, as believers, should focus. We must remember the true reason for the season and keep that joy. If we hold fast to that joy, we can face anything that the world and the enemy may send our way.

Are you filled with the joy of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you have the faith to praise God even in hardship?

December 10, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
(Job 1:21 (ESV))

Would you be able to praise the Lord even if you were in a situation similar to that of Job?

Could you find the faith to praise God even in the midst of hardship?

These are good questions for each of us to consider when things are normal. With everything that is going on in the world at this point in history, it is rapidly becoming a topic that we, as the Body of Christ, must take very seriously. Things are unfolding at a rate that only a few short years ago would seem almost impossible. It is important that we remember that this world is fleeting. It is also important to remember that the enemy is the prince of the earth. He longs to be worshipped and to destroy all who worship the true Lord.

I want to pose a scenario for your consideration. You are going on a journey and on this journey you must drive through some unpleasant areas in order to get to your promised destination. Arriving at this destination will result in you receiving an inheritance of untold value. Do you take a look at the unpleasant surroundings and give up on the destination because of your current location, or do you remember the promise and keep going? What happens if you have a flat tire along the way? Do you give up or do you hunker down, change the tire and keep moving? What if it cost you everything that you have in order to reach your destination? Would you give up, or would you go?

I love the way that this concept is presented not once, but twice, within Matthew.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
(Matthew 13:44 (NIV))

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
(Matthew 13:45-46 (NIV))

Job knew this joy. Job knew this truth! Even when he faced hardship, Job knew where his true treasure was to be found.

We will all face hardships during this physical life. We must remember that this life is only a journey. Through Jesus, we have a promised destination that is amazing! We must not lose site of this promise. We must not take our eyes off of the Lord!

“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))

We must praise Him even when we are facing worldly hardships. We must praise Him for overcoming the world.

Do you have the faith to praise God even in hardship?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is your heart in the right place?

December 3, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

I’ve referenced this passage on many occasions, but it has been haunting me the last few days.

I’ve been looking at the current state of the world and my selfish side was longing for the things that I would love to be able to do again, like take my lovely wife on a long vacation. I would love to do this without the ever-present panic mode that has the whole world under various different phases of lock-down. To be honest with you, I have found my mind to be in a fog, in a state of disillusionment, because I was beginning to feel defeated and my hope was fading.

I know that I am not the only one who has been feeling this way because of the very unusual events of this year. I think that I can safely say that a large number of people, even believers, have felt this way at some point during this year.

What do you do when the weight of the world comes crashing in on you? It is human nature to give in to the pressures, to the stress, and slip into a state of mind that does not honor the Lord. What do you do to bring yourself back to Jesus when this happens? Each person is different. Each person who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior has a unique relationship with the Lord. Each of us have a special something that God uses to get our attention. It is this special something, whether it is a Scripture passage, a song, or a sunset, that God uses to reach out to you to bring you back to Himself.

I want you to be able to focus on this aspect of your relationship with the Lord and make this your treasure. Nobody knows what the future may hold. The enemy is doing everything that he can to crush the faith of believers. No matter what may come, each of us must be able to focus on the personal treasure that is the Lord. We must make sure that our hearts belong to Him, for that is the only place that they belong!

Is your heart in the right place?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you forever thankful to the Lord?

November 30, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
(Psalms 136:1 (NIV))

Just how long is forever?

To be honest with you, I actually don’t think that the human mind can truly understand that concept, especially when you consider our limited vantage point. Our minds think back to our days in school when we were watching the clock and impatiently waiting for the end of the day. It seemed like it took forever! Perhaps you remember Christmas Eve as a child. It seemed like the night would never end. With these and other examples that you may have in mind, we have a tendency to look at the concept of forever as a period of time that we must endure. We don’t usually think of forever as a joyous time.

Is that how God sees forever? Is that how God sees us in relationship to forever?

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
(2 Peter 3:8 (NIV))

If this is the way that God sees time, then His concept of forever is so very different from how we see forever. If God’s love endures forever, then He has loved us from the beginning of time, if there is such a thing, and He will continue to love us to what our frail human minds call the end of time. In all honesty, the concept of the end of time is a human construct because we can’t truly grasp eternity. All that we can truly understand is that the Lord never changes.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
(Hebrews 13:8 (NIV))

If His love endures forever, then His love for us never changes and that is the best thing that anyone can ever experience.

If God loves us this much, how do we express our gratitude?

Are you forever thankful to the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How is your strength?

November 13, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He gives strength to the weary
     and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
     and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
     will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
     they will run and not grow weary,
     they will walk and not be faint.
(Isaiah 40:29-31 (NIV))

I don’t know about you, but I am weary in my own strength. I don’t have the ability to face the world on my own. I am tired! Perhaps I could even go so far as saying that I am exhausted.

The world in which we live has become so polarized. People rage against anything and everything that God considers good. They openly embrace anything that God considers evil. They mock anyone who clings to the sole source of truth. They censor the name of Jesus who is the source of this truth because they don’t want to offend those who do evil. They don’t want to offend the enemy!

Do you understand why I am weary?

I, like every single person who has ever lived, do not have the strength to face the enemy on my own. Thankfully I can turn to the ultimate source of strength. I can rely on the strength of someone much greater than I. I can rely on the strength of my Lord and Savior. I can rely on the strength of my God! With this strength, I have the ability to face whatever the world may send my way. I have the strength to face whatever the enemy may send my way.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
     my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
     and with my song I praise him.
(Psalms 28:7 (NIV))

He gives us strength by letting us rest in His presence. He gives us strength when we need shelter from the world. He gives us strength by equipping us with His truth. He gives us strength when we are still. When we desire to live out His truth, He fights the battles.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
(Exodus 14:14 (NIV))

When you are on the side of the Lord, that should be enough to give you the strength to overcome the weariness caused by the evil in the world!

How is your strength?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you truly long for the Lord?

November 10, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Why do you make me look at injustice?
    Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
    there is strife, and conflict abounds.
(Habakkuk 1:3 (NIV))

Habakkuk knew what injustice was. He saw it in the society of his day. He saw it in Jerusalem. He had grown tired of the sinful practices that he saw on a daily basis. He pleaded with the Lord to do something that would make the people repent and return to the Lord. The people had rebelled against the Lord to the point that the Lord decided to have the Babylonians invade.

Think about that for a moment!

We pray for God to do something in this nation. We grow tired of the injustices, the evil, the wrongdoing, the destruction and the violence. We can’t seem to go more than an hour without hearing about a new conflict that has people polarized in their responses. We pray that the Lord would heal this land, but what if the first step in the healing process takes us down a road similar to what the Lord told Habakkuk would happen? When the Babylonians came, it was not just the people who were doing evil who where affected? The consequences impacted the whole region.

With the events in the world and the alignment of nations, the peace treaties and all other factors, we realize that we will probably soon be facing end time events. We long for the moment when the Lord will come for His church. Until that time, we must be prepared for much worse than we have seen. We should continue to pray for repentance and healing. We must pray for eyes to be opened and hearts to be turned to Jesus.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))

If we, who are sinful by nature, grow weary of all of the sin that surrounds us, how much more does this bother the Lord? We know that the Lord will win in His time, for He, too, is growing tired of the things in this world. Until that time, we must stand firm in our faith. We must stand firm in proclaiming the Gospel. We must stand firm in showing the world what God calls righteousness and justice.

Do you truly long for the Lord?

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