What have you received?

November 25, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
(Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV))

Too many people believe that accepting Jesus is all that they need to do in order to achieve salvation. They proclaim Him as Savior, but never allow Him to be Lord. They continue in their old habits and continue to live as if they had a license to sin. They have a false understanding of the salvation that Jesus came to bring to us.

Accepting Jesus as your Savior is part of the first step. We must also accept Him as our personal Lord. We must willingly give ourselves over to Jesus and allow His life to manifest itself through our life. We must live in Him. We must live in God’s Word!

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 1:14 (NIV))

It is vital that we not only accept Jesus as our Savior, we must accept Him as our Lord. Think about this. Jesus is the Word made man. We must accept Jesus as our Lord. We must accept all of God’s Word as our Lord, not only the parts that we like.

What have you accepted? What have you received?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Can we truthfully say why we are thankful?

November 24, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
        and his courts with praise;
        give thanks to him and praise his name.
(Psalms 100:4 (NIV))

Have you ever wondered why we give thanks to the Lord? The very next passage tells us why the psalmist chose to give thanks.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
        his faithfulness continues through all generations.
(Psalm 100:5 (NIV))

His reasons should be our reasons, but are they? Can we go deeper? Can we truthfully say why we are thankful?

Have you ever found yourself stopping what you were doing and lifting up a heartfelt thank you to God? Have you ever simply told the Lord that you are thankful for all that He has done for you? Have you ever faced something so overwhelming that you had no idea how you would make it through those circumstances only to find that He had gotten your through it? I could go on and on asking questions about different scenarios that should elicit thankfulness to the Lord, but I believe that I can stop. Hopefully you understand that there are so many different reasons to give thanks to the Lord. The psalmist chose to say that the Lord is good. He chose to tell us that His love endures forever. He chose to tell us that His faithfulness will never end. I honestly believe that there are some things within these three characteristics that we should focus on.

How has the Lord been good to you? Chances are good that they are too numerous to ever mention all of them.

How has the Lord shown you His enduring love? Besides the obvious one where He sent His Son, Jesus, to save us from our sins, there are probably far too many instances to count.

How has the Lord been faithful to you? Has He ever turned His back on you when you called out to Him? There is a much better chance that we have turned our backs on Him far more times than we care to admit. If we repent, He is faithful to forgive!

I would like to challenge you to personalize your reasons for entering His gates with thanksgiving.

Can we truthfully say why we are thankful?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you give thanks to the Lord?

November 23, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
          And call upon the name of the LORD.
(Psalms 116:17 (NAS))

Do you look at our Thanksgiving holiday as a sacrifice to the Lord?

Far too many people look at Thanksgiving as a day to overeat and watch football. They don’t look at Thanksgiving as an act to be performed unti the Lord.

Are you truly thankful for what God has given to you, or do you take it for granted?

Are you more concerned with thanking the cooks than you are for thanking God for providing the blessings that sit before you?

Are you more thankful for the physical possessions that you have than you are for the gift of grace that was freely given to you?

Just what are your priorities? What are you thankful for? Are you more thankful for the things that will rust and decay than you are for grace that never goes away?

I pray that each of us truly recognize where our thanks should be directed.

Do you give thanks to the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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There is absolutely no one like our God!

November 19, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.”
(1 Samuel 2:2 (NIV))

Where do you place your trust? Perhaps I should ask in whom do you place your trust? Do you trust in a political leader? Do you trust in your boss? Do you trust in your family? I realize that this is going to sound strange, but do you trust in yourself?

There is not a single person in this world who will always do what is right, who will always do what is righteous and holy in the eyes of the Lord. That is why when we were trapped in sin and in need a savior, there was not a single person alive then, or ever, who could live up to the standards that the Lord has set for us. Only He is perfect. Only He is Holy. Only He could save us!

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))

In order to save us, He had to be above us. He had to be before us, and He had to be like us!

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))

He had to be fully God and fully man. He had to have the power to forgive and He had to have the power to live a sin free life as one of us. There is no one like Him. We have no one else that we can turn to. Nothing can shatter the Rock that is our God. With this in mind, when someone claims to be completely worthy of your trust, turn to the Lord. When someone claims to be infallible, turn to the Lord. When the whole world is falling for a false messiah, turn to the Lord. Never take your eyes off of the Lord!

I love the wording in the Complete Jewish Bible and how it handles the translation from ancient Hebrew to English.

“No one is as holy as Adonai, because there is none to compare with you, no rock like our God.”
‭‭(1 Samuel‬ ‭2:2‬ ‭(CJB‬‬))

No one!

None to compare!

To put it as clearly as possible, there is absolutely no one like our God!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What is the Lord to you?

November 17, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He said: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
(2 Samuel 2:22 (NIV))

We know that David was a very prolific writer when it came to things that lifted praise to the Lord. To put it succinctly, David gave credit where credit was due. He knew that all that he had was from the Lord. He knew exactly what the Lord meant to him and he wasn’t afraid to express it.

     my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
     my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
     from violent people you save me.
(2 Samuel 22:3 (NIV))

Most of us are not as prolific with words as David was. Most of us have trouble stringing together a coherent sentence that expresses our thanks, our praise, our joy, and our commitment to the One who created us. What words do you use to describe the Lord? Do you find yourself relying on the very words that David wrote? Do you find yourself at a loss for words? Do you find yourself simply groaning in your spirit because words cannot be found?

I want to challenge you to try to put into words, your own words, exactly what the Lord is to you. Is He your rock? Is He your fortress? Is He your deliverer? Is He your stronghold? What has He done for you?

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
(2 Timothy 4:2-3 (NIV))

Think about that for a moment. There is probably coming a time in your life where you will be put into a situation where you will have to give a testimony about what the Lord is to you and what He has done for you. Will you be ready to lay it on the line or will you cower in fear because you never truly stopped to think about all that the Lord has done for you? Are you prepared to give an answer?

What is the Lord to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you meeting these requirements?

November 15, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
(Micah 6:8 (NIV))

We are required to do three things. I started to say that we are required to do three simple things, but with the history that humanity has, these three things are not simple to do. Humanity has failed miserably at these three things ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden.

How do you do with respect to these three requirements?

Do you act justly one hundred percent of the time or do you find yourself showing favoritism or even selfishness at times? Do you think of others or do you only look out for yourself? Take a long hard look at your motives and your actions before you say whether you act justly.

Do you love mercy at all times or do you find yourself only desiring mercy when it is applied to you? Do you hold a grudge against someone for something that they did to you? Are you willing to forgive?

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
(Matthew 6:14 (NIV))

Do you walk humbly with your God at all times or do you sometimes forget the relationship that you have with God as the Creator while you are the creation? Do you try to tell God how He should do things? Do you try to convince God that you should be His priority because everyone around you is not worth His time? Do you suffer from the dreaded human characteristics of ego and pride?

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
(Proverbs 16:8 (NIV))

Based on these three requirements, every single one of us has very severe shortcomings. If we were undergoing a performance evaluation for our employment based on these three requirements, what type of evaluation would be recorded for you? Isn’t God’s evaluation of us based on these three requirements so much more important than a job evaluation? If we can’t successfully pass a worldly evaluation, how can we expect to pass God’s evaluation of us?

I know that we have been given grace through the atoning blood of Jesus, but that does not excuse us from continuing to do poorly on these three requirements. We are called to mature in our faith, in our walk with Jesus, so that we begin to take on the very characteristics of Christ. In this world, we will never be perfect, but we are called to be continually perfected in order to reflect Jesus in all that we do.

Are you meeting these requirements?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Who do you say that Jesus is?

October 26, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

     At these words the Jews were again divided. Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?”
     But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
(John 10:19-21 (NIV))

It is interesting that all throughout history people have been so divided by Jesus. You either acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior or you vehemently deny Him and claim Him to be insane. It happened when He walked the earth. It happens to this day.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
     and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
     in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
     to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:9-11 (NIV))

One day soon, everyone will know exactly who He is. One day soon, those who claim His Lordship will rejoice. One day soon, those who claim Him to be insane will weep.

Why are the hearts of some people closed to the idea that Jesus is the Son of God? Do they reject God or do they reject the idea that God came to earth as one of us? If they reject God, then we must pray for them, for they are truly lost. If they reject the idea of God coming to earth, then they don’t understand the very nature of God. Too many people see God as the ultimate in corporal punishment and not the ultimate in grace and mercy. Only grace and mercy would be willing to live, suffer and die as one of us.

How do you see God? That will play a big part in how you see Jesus. Is Jesus a man possessed by a demon or does He have all authority over everything, including demons?

Who do you say that Jesus is?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What is your understanding?

October 25, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
(Proverbs 9:10 (NIV))

Is there anything in this world that you fear?

For those who profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, that is an extremely loaded question, for we have accepted God’s love, grace and mercy through the gift of His Son, 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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

God’s gift is perfect! God’s love is perfect!

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
(1 John 4:18 (NIV))

As believers in Jesus, we have nothing to fear in this world. Even when everything all around you appears to be falling apart, you have nothing to fear. Even when the enemy is knocking on your door, you have nothing to fear. Even when your physical life may be threatened, you have nothing to fear. As believers in Jesus, we must fully embrace the truth of the words written by Paul.

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
(Philippians 1:21 (NIV))

What we should fear are the consequences of not accepting the gift of perfect love as expressed at the cross. What we should fear is an eternity cast away from the presence of the Lord because we are too proud to admit that we are a sinner in need of a Savior. What we should fear is a righteous God who will judge us on one simple plan of salvation that is freely offered to all who will receive.

Are you ready to admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior?

Are you ready to believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead?

Are you ready to call upon the name of the Lord Jesus?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, for it leads us to the realization that without Jesus, we are lost. With Jesus, we have eternal love, grace and mercy.

What is your understanding?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What are your motives?

October 14, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
(Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV))

In this world in which we live, this is a joyous message. The God of all creation has plans for each and every one of us. God wants to give us good things. He wants to prosper us. He wants to protect us from harm. He wants to give us hope.

Carefully consider what God has promised to each of us in this passage. The basic desires of humanity are met in these words. We all desire to be prosperous at what we do. We all desire to be kept from harm. We all desire to have hope for a better tomorrow for ourselves and our families. The words that God gave to us through Jeremiah touch each one of us at our innermost longings, desires and hopes.

God has given us an insight into ourselves and into His own heart through these words. He also gave us a glimpse into the ultimate hope through the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. If we place our faith and hope in Jesus, God will prosper us. He will protect us. He will give us a hope and a future. It is true that God sent His Son, Jesus, so that we could have salvation from our sins, but Jesus also came for other reasons.

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 10:7(NIV))

Don’t get me wrong. God’s sole purpose is not to be our personal wish fulfillment factory. He is not there to turn to when we want something. He is there to be our Father at all times. If we turn to Him as a loving Father and earnestly seek His face in all things, then He will prosper us just as He promised in Jeremiah.

Are you looking for God to prosper you or are you looking to God in all that you do? It is a matter of your heart.

What are your motives?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you strong and courageous?

October 13, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

Possibly the most difficult thing to wholeheartedly accept is that God is with us wherever we go. We believe it when things are going good. We say it less often when things are beginning to look less than perfect. We tell others to believe it when things are going badly for them, but do we honestly believe it when we are facing things in our lives that are less than desirable?

It is so easy to be strong and courageous when there is no reason to fear. Human nature is very bold and positive when there is no present danger. It is a little less easy to be strong and courageous when you start to feel threatened in some manner. Finally, it is almost impossible to keep any reasonable facsimile of strength and courage when faced with an immediate threat. The only people who are able to maintain any resemblance of calm and courage in the face of danger are those who have actually trained for such an event.

How can we, as believers, train for these times?

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. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
(Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV))

It cannot be simpler. In order to be strong and courageous, we need to train ourselves to rely on God in all situations. We need to know Him, His Son Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God’s Word so that we can quickly summon the appropriate armor to use in defending against the attacks of the enemy. We must also be able to listen and obey the voice of our Lord just as a soldier listens and obeys the voice of his commanding officer. We must be able to quickly discern what is from God and what is from the enemy.

Are you fully trained?

Are you strong and courageous?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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