Do you recognize His ownership?

April 23, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
(Psalms 24:11 (NIV))

Do you know anyone who acts like the world is theirs? Are they arrogant and self-centered? Are they always demanding things of others because they think they are better and more important than everyone else? I realize that I am not painting a very pretty picture of this type of person. They fail to realize that they are just a small part of God’s creation and that all of us are equally loved by the Lord.

If you look at copyright laws, the creator of any work is in complete control of that work. They own it. They have all rights to do with that work whatever they choose to do. According to the creation account in Genesis, God is the Creator of all things and as such, He owns all things. He is Creator. He is eternal. We are like grass.

For,

“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
(1 Peter 1:24-25 (NIV))

Who is the Lord?

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
(Psalm 146:6 (NIV))

We can’t even claim to own ourselves! We are filthy rags.

We can’t save ourselves. We need a Savior.

Thankfully, God loves His creation. As a loving Creator, He is also a loving owner. Thankfully, God sent us a Savior.

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))

When we acknowledge that we are not the center of our world and that we don’t own anything, we can take the next step and rightfully relinquish ownership of our lives. We can accept the gift of grace from the One who is the true owner of all things.

Do you recognize His ownership?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you finding strength while you wait?

April 22, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
(Psalms 27:14 (NIV))

If you are like me, you are probably asking when the Lord will set things right, especially as we see things rapidly turning further and further away from righteousness and common sense. In fact, I am certain that you have seen or heard someone say something to the effect that common sense is no longer common. All that you have to do is look at the events unfolding in this world and you quickly can agree to this claim. You probably will come away with a perplexed sadness about the inability of far too many people to make any type of logical and intelligent thought patterns. Is this the beginnings of the powerful delusion?

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
(2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 (NIV))

God is unfolding things according to His timeline. If you truly follow the Lord and long for His righteousness, then you are probably like me and desire to see that sooner than later. Be patient!

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))

God is never early, and more importantly, He is never late. There is a moment in time when the Lord will increase the events and the rapidness of their timing as they unfold culminating in His return. We may be days away. We may be months, or we may even be years, but one thing is certain. We must take heart for we know that His promises will come to pass. We must pray for His strength. We must patiently wait for the Lord.

Are you finding strength while you wait?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you trust in the Lord?

April 12, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.
(Proverbs 29:25 (NIV))

Do you fear the events of the world?

Think carefully about that question before you answer, for the events of the world are all caused by man. God foretold of them, but what is playing out is the direct result of our sinful, fallen nature. Wars and rumors of wars are all caused by human nature. Calling evil good and good evil is a direct result of our rebellious, sinful nature. I could go on, but everything since Satan deceived Adam and Eve has been a direct result of our sinful, fallen nature.

Back to the events of the world. Do you fear COVID? Do you fear the vaccine? Do you fear lawlessness and hatred? Do you fear evil? Do you fear war? Is your fear increasing as these things and many more increase in the world? What does that say about where you are focusing your attention and your trust?

If you focus on the world, we lose hope. All that we see and will see is the ever-increasing sin and rebellion of humanity. We must focus our minds, our hearts and our spirits on the one thing that will allow us to overcome the world.

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
(1 John 5:5 (NIV))

When we look at the world, we know fear. When we look to Jesus, we know peace. Where do you look? What do you desire to know? Where do you desire to place your trust?

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))

Are you an overcomer?

Do you trust in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you know peace?

April 7, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”
(Isaiah 57:21 (NIV))

Contrary to what the world will try to make you think, sin is sin, evil is evil, and wickedness is real. It has been part of the human condition ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. We traded God’s perfection for a lie and ever since that day, all of humanity has missed the mark that God had established for His creation. We missed the mark as stewards. We missed the mark in our trust of God. We missed the mark in choosing righteousness over evil. We missed the mark completely.

We sinned!

Sadly, we continue to sin.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Every single one of us are lost in a problem of our own making. It is also a problem that we cannot fix on our own. We cannot overcome sin and achieve the righteousness that God desires on our own merits. It is impossible for a filthy rag to pick itself up, clean itself and make itself presentable to the one who made it. It requires a loving Creator to pick us up out of the filth and wash us clean. It requires a loving Creator to share His righteousness so that the rags can become clean.

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
(Romans 3:22-24 (NIV))

I know that you have seen the following words many times, but to be honest with you, there is so much truth that is contained within these eight words.

No Jesus. No peace.
Know Jesus. Know peace!

The world will not give you peace. The world is in a sinful, fallen state. Everything that is in the world has been corrupted and will be used by the enemy to attack. If you are under attack, you are not at peace.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

Only by accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior will you know true peace.

Do you know peace?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you made this call?

April 6, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
(Romans 10:13 (NIV))

It is amazing what pride will make us do!

It will make us do things that we shouldn’t even attempt simply because we want to be better than someone else. I am certain that everyone has a story about themselves where this was the driving force behind your motives. In fact, if you are like me, you probably have multiple stories that ended not as you had planned and hoped that they would. Unfortunately, human nature is a sad and funny thing. It is greatly complicated when pride comes into play. In addition to making us do things that we honestly have no right to do, it will also keep us from doing things that we should do simply because pride makes us want to rebel.

If you truly stop to think about rebellion, the whole story of human existence since Adam and Eve has been one long story of rebellion, redemption and then more rebellion. Why would each human life be any different from humanity as a whole? Sadly, the greatest individual rebellion that can ever be made is denying Jesus and the salvation that is freely ours if we only accept. Pride makes us think that either we don’t need saving or that we are too far gone to be saved. Pride keeps us from making a simple, heartfelt plea to the Lord. It keeps us from calling upon Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior.

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))

It is a simple plan that God put in place, yet so many fail to believe. They fail to make that call.

Have you made this call?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Accept God’s grace before it is too late!

March 25, 2021

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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))

Are you ready to accept your wages? Perhaps I should ask that another way. Are you ready to pay the price of your wages that you have earned?

I realize that this doesn’t sound very nice, but it is the truth. We argue over minimum wage, but we fail to ever mention the wage that every single one of us owes because of our sinful nature. There is a price to pay for our sin, yet far too many people ignore the fact as if they don’t even care about the consequences of their sinful nature.

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

but…

There is hope!

There is grace!

There is mercy!

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))

It is a common misconception that God rejects people and sends them to hell. On the contrary, they send themselves there because they reject God and His free offer of grace and mercy. With that statement of truth, it becomes important that each and every person take a serious look at their lives and stop rejecting the loving God that created them and is trying to redeem them from the consequences of sin, from the wages of sin.

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))

Time is short! Nothing is guaranteed.

What if you are the type of person who tells yourself that I will take care of my salvation tomorrow and tomorrow never comes? If that were to happen, are you prepared for the consequences? Are you prepared to discover that you could have avoided the consequences by simply accepting God’s gift of eternal life in Jesus?

Accept God’s grace before it is too late!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you willing to do for the Lord?

March 23, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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))

I read this passage and I realized that this type of willingness requires a strength of faith, and then I realized that we choose to have that strength through the things that we do. We can cower in fear or we can realize where our strength truly comes from and step boldly into that strength.

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.
(Ephesians 6:10-11 (NIV))

When we choose to put on the full armor of God, we choose to embrace that strength. We choose to side with the God of creation. We choose to accept His authority and His protection. When we realize that His strength is imparted to us when we are doing His Will, what reason would we have for not stepping out in faith and saying, “Here am I. Send me!”

Are you willing to step out in faith and go where He sends and do what He asks?

Think about that for just a moment.

The Lord has freely given each of us so very much. We should be so thankful that we are delighted to do His will. We should be eager in our zeal for the Lord. Sadly, too many of us think only of our own comfort zones. We think only of the sacrifices that we would be called to make. What would our world, what would our salvation be if Jesus had thought only of His comfort?

Is there something that constantly tugs at your spirit that you know is from the Lord? Do you need to slow down long enough to listen to what the Lord is saying? Do you need to listen to that still, small voice? Do you need to respond?

What are you willing to do for the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you dwell in the presence of the Lord?

March 18, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Surely goodness and love will follow me
      all the days of my life,
   and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
      forever.
(Psalms 23:6 (NIV))

There are houses and there are homes. There are buildings and then there are dwellings. What makes the difference is a matter of attitude. A house is simply a place to sleep. A home is a place of refuge and comfort. A building is simply four walls. A dwelling is someplace that you have completely moved in to and have made it your own.

God is looking for those who wish to make His presence their home. He is looking to believers to desire to dwell in His presence. He does not want us to simply come into His presence to sleep and then go our own way. He wants us to long to be at home in His presence. He desires for us to desire Him and be completely content; to be completely at peace with Him.

Peace!

Perhaps that is what makes the difference between a house and a home and a building and a dwelling. Peace allows you to settle in and to get comfortable. God wants us to get comfortable in His presence.

Are you comfortable in God’s presence?

Are you at home in God’s presence?

Do you dwell in the presence of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What will you be given?

March 12, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.
(Revelation 22:12 (NIV))

According to what they have done?

Does this make you stop and ask yourself what are you doing for the Lord?

I realize that grace is freely given, but what we do once we have accepted that gift determines more than we care to admit. We are not saved by works, but once we are saved, we are called to share that saving grace with others. Each of us will receive unique rewards based on how well we have followed the Lord’s instructions in much the same manner as we are told of in the parable of the talents. The servants who used the talents wisely were rewarded.

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
(Matthew 25:23 (NIV))

And what instructions are we supposed to follow?

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 have been given an assignment. We are to share the light of Jesus. In fact, once we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are to shine His light through our lives.

You are the light of the world. A town built 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 others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
(Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV))

To be honest with you, there are many more analogies from scripture that I could reference, but to put it simply, we have been given an assignment. Our sole job responsibility is sharing the Gospel. Just as the faithful servants in the parable of the talents, we will be rewarded for obedience to this assigned task. Have you been obedient?

What will you be given?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Keep you eyes focused on the Lord!

March 5, 2021

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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))

With the current state of the world, are you at afraid? Are you discouraged?

Do you have the strength and courage to fully rely on God no matter what happens?

I realize that these are tough questions to answer honestly. Each of us would like to think that we can walk the proverbial walk and not just talk the talk, but how many of us have truly been tested in our faith? Just like when a baby first learns to walk, it takes small steps where we gingerly venture out in uncertainty. With each step of faith that we take, our strength and courage grow as we learn that we can be confident in the promises and the presence of the Lord. Just like a baby, if we don’t allow the stumbles and falls to deter us, we will soon find ourselves with the confidence to walk boldly with the Lord.

I have found a fantastic benefit to walking boldly with the Lord.

Peace!

In all circumstances that I have faced so far in my life since accepting Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior, I have learned to find peace.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:7 (NIV))

They say that hindsight is 20/20. It is also a tremendous way to remind yourself of the fulfilled promises and presence of the Lord. When you look back, you find the strength and courage to trust in the Lord as you look to the future fulfillment of His promises.

Keep you eyes focused on the Lord!

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