Do you believe this?

September 21, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
(John 11:25-26 (NIV))

Does this sound too fantastic to be true?

According to the world, it is, but we don’t live according to the world. If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you don’t need to live according to the world, either! It all starts with one basic truth that is clearly evident in the world today.

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

We are all sinners and because of that, we can never be in the presence of God, for He cannot associate with sin. Because of this, we are condemned to an eternity without God. We are condemned to spiritual and physical death.

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

But . . .

Did you notice that word in the middle of Romans 6:23? As humans, we often use this word to indicate that we have an excuse for what we have done. God uses this word to turn the tables on sin and death.

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))

God loves us enough to provide a way out of the consequences of sin and death. It all starts with the ABCs.

A is admit that you are a sinner in need of a Savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

Do you long for life beyond what we know in this sinful, fallen world? Do you long for life in the presence of a just and loving God? Do you long for life without tears and heartache? Now is the time to make that confession of faith before it is too late!

Is Jesus your resurrection and your life?

Do you believe this?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you called upon the name of the Lord?

February 1, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
     abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
(Psalms 86:5 (ESV))

What do you tell people who claim that God won’t send them to hell because He is love, and why would a loving God do such a thing?

Let that question sink in!

Do you know anyone who professes this belief? Have you ever professed this belief? On the surface, it sounds so appealing and accurate, but is it accurate?

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))

If it is accurate, then why did God send His one and only Son? Why did He have to go to the cross? Why did He have to die in order to pay for our transgressions, for our sins?

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

Too many people have accepted the lie propagated by the enemy that says that since God is love, He accepts you just as you are and that you do not have to change. They forget one important fact that clearly modifies those with whom God shares His steadfast love.

“to all who call upon you.”

Too many people ignore the fact that we have to call on the Lord to save us, and then His love is poured out upon us. He does love everyone, but He desires for you to repent, accept His gift of grace and mercy, and then follow Him. There is nothing in His Word that says that He will show His redeeming love to those who rebel against Him. All that you have to do is read about Adam and Eve, the flood, the Tower of Babel and many others to see what happens to those who rebel. Countless times, He pleads with those who are in rebellion to turn to Him and live! That is why He sent His Son.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (ESV))

Have you called upon the name of the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Call collect. He will accept all charges!

September 8, 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))

Do you know someone who feels that they are too far gone for God to care about them? Are you trying to share the grace and mercy that is freely given and their reply is that you don’t know what they have done? Do they think that what they have done is so bad that God could never forgive them? Perhaps that someone is you and you were given this to read. Rest assured that the only thing that God cannot forgive is a hardened heart. His forgiveness requires that you soften your heart and turn to accept His offer of grace and mercy.

God loves you. He never left you. It is we, in our sinful nature, who have left Him. Each of us have tried to fill that void where God should be with what the world has to offer. Nothing in this world will work! He has provided a way for this void to be filled with Himself. He has provided a way to return to Him. In fact, He is calling us to return to Himself.

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. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people 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 their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

As you can see, God’s offer is on the table. It is up to us whether we accept it or reject it. It is as easy as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior. Soften your heart and turn to the Lord.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus.

Something else for you to think about. He wants you to call on Him.

Call collect. He will accept all charges!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What do you find yourself boasting about?

August 18, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
(2 Corinthians 10:17 (NIV))

What do you think of people who always boast and brag about their accomplishments?

I could probably stop right there and just let you think about that for a while, but I want to ask you one more question, and you may not like your answer.

Have you ever been one of those people who always boasts and brags about the things that you have done?

We all are guilty of being human with a sinful, fallen nature, so I think that I can safely say that we have all done this at one point in our lives. We like to toot our own horn. We like to draw attention to ourselves. We like to feel important. We like to have others think that we are important, but we all know that this is a lie.

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))

In other words, we are nothing in the grand scheme of things. For most of us, time will only remember us for one or two generations after we are gone. We can do nothing, and therefore, we can boast of nothing that will matter fifty years from now.

The life of mortals is like grass,
     they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
     and its place remembers it no more.
(Psalms 103:15-16 (NIV))

What have we that we can boast about?

Truly the only thing that we can boast of is that we are loved by God even in our sinful, fallen state!

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))

What do you find yourself boasting about?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Share the Gospel in truth and love!

April 13, 2021

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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. 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.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

This passage never gets old! I have sent this before, but some things are definitely worth repeating.

If you are like me, this passage brings great peace, hope and joy for it reassures us of our faith and where it is placed.

Yet, at the same time, it turns and brings sorrow in the midst of the joy. It turns our focus from our joy to the condemnation of those who have not believed in Jesus.

Do you know someone who has not accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior? Perhaps they are a loved one or a friend, or perhaps a coworker. Now, ask yourself this simple question.

“How will it feel to never see them for all eternity?”

How will you feel if they are taken from us this very day, and you had not even mentioned Jesus to them? How will you feel if their salvation was your sole reason for living and you had failed? How will you feel if you hear another friend or family member saying, “No one had the nerve to bring up Jesus. Now it is too late.”

John 3:16 is an amazingly reassuring passage when it comes to our own salvation. But we have a tendency to stop there. Once again, we fail to look beyond our own circumstances. We fail to see the opportunities that God has placed right in front of us. Opportunities that could very well mean whether someone will spend eternity with God or eternal separation from God.

We must read beyond our own perspective. We must see the world through God’s eyes and not ours. We must realize that grace is a gift that is free to spread.

I once heard someone say that they were a vessel to catch God’s grace. They then went on to say that they did not wish to be a pot or jar, for these were used for collecting for a later time. They wanted to be a tea pot or a watering pot, for these collect and hold just long enough to pass it on to where it is needed.

Don’t be a jar. Be a tea pot so that the grace and blessings that have been given to you may flow out to all those around you. Make it your goal to share grace with all who will hear so that they will be saved from the condemnation that is to come for those who have not believed in Jesus.

Be a tea pot! Share the Gospel in truth and love!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What if we recognized that God’s world is bigger than just us?

March 17, 2021

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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))

Are you glad that you have accepted the offer of grace and salvation as it was given to you?

Are you the world?

In other words, was God’s plan to only save you?

Even if you only looked at those who are alive at this very moment in time, each of us, by ourselves, is miniscule in comparison to all whom God loves. Even so, what God unfolded for the whole world would have been done for only one. In fact, if you truly stop to reflect on His plan of salvation, it was and is unfolding one person at a time. It didn’t stop with you!

With everything that is going on in the world at this moment in time, there are many who need to come to the knowledge of the saving grace that can be theirs if they will only accept what God is freely giving. The next time you see someone ridiculing Jesus, remember Saul and his Damascus Road experience. The next time that you see someone flaunting evil in every action that they take, remember what you were like before accepting Jesus. The next time that you see someone so lost in sin, remember the old saying, “By the grace of God go I!”

As members of the Body of Christ, we are called to action.

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))

What was freely given to you was also freely given to all. The only difference is that some may not have heard. Some may not have accepted, but how can they believe if nobody will tell them? Are you willing to tell them?

No one knows the day nor the hour, but many people are recognizing the season as God’s plans are unfolding. Is there someone that you can tell about the saving grace that can be theirs? What if we each shared this good news with one person each day?

What if we recognized that God’s world is bigger than just us?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you gotten lost on a detour?

December 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
(John 14:6 (NIV))

According to the world, there are many different ways to get to heaven.

What do you believe? What do you know to be the truth? Do you believe that they are the same thing?

Each religion in the world professes that they have the only path to get to god. You will notice that I chose to use a little “g,” for the gods that they claim to be able to reach are not the God of the universe. Each religion sets out a path that you must follow to achieve a higher level. Everything that they claim gets you closer to their god is something that you must do, but our God, the God of the universe did something to reach us!

He sent His Word! He sent His only begotten Son.

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))

Jesus came to shine the light!

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))

Jesus came as one of us, a living man of flesh. We can never be good enough. We can never earn our way to God. Because of this, God came to us! Jesus was sent by God, as God made man, to bring us back to Himself.

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. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people 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 their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
(John 3:16-21 (NIV))

The world tells us that we have to get better in order to see God. God tells us that He is better than the world. He has reached out to us to share His goodness, righteousness, mercy and grace. Personally, I know that I am not capable of anything on my own. I was drowning in a sea of sin. God reached out and rescued me. I didn’t have to rescue myself. Grace was and forever will be a gift. All that you have to do is accept it. If you are required to do something of your own strength, then you are on the wrong path.

Have you gotten lost on a detour?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What are you doing?

October 8, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

I may offend a few people with today’s passage and thoughts. I pray that perhaps I will make you think about this passage and the things that we, as the Body of Christ, should be doing.

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))

Do you believe in Jesus? Do you believe that Jesus is God’s one and only Son? Do you claim the gift of eternal life that this belief entitles you to? Sadly, that is where far too many people stop with their faith. They fail to respond by putting their faith into actions such as sharing the Gospel. We are called to go into all the world and preach the good news, but how many of us actually do anything for the Lord? How many of us read these passages that tell us that we have a responsibility and then simply choose to ignore them. What is recorded in John tells us that Jesus expects those who believe in Him to do what He spent His life doing. What is recorded tells us that He expects even greater things from us.

Are we living up to expectations?

We are not saved by works, but since we have been given the greatest gift that has ever been given, we should desire to share this gift with others. We should desire to do all that we can do to share the good news of Jesus!

What are you doing?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Who are your brother and sister?

September 23, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
(1 John 4:20 (NIV))

I have often wondered how Jesus would answer someone if they had asked Him who is their brother or sister?

Perhaps Jesus would give an answer similar to the one He gave when He was asked what was the greatest commandment.

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 12:29-31 (NIV))

Would He have answered with a parable similar to the Good Samaritan as He did when He was asked who is my neighbor? Jesus turned it around on the person who asked by telling the parable and then asked who he thought was a neighbor.

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
(Luke 10:37 (NIV))

Perhaps he would have answered similarly to when He was told His mother and brothers were outside and wanted to speak with Him.

He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
(Matthew 12:48-50 (NIV))

Are we seeing a distinction between a neighbor and a brother? Are we being told to show love and mercy to our neighbors and to love those who do the will of His Father? Is there a difference between showing love and mercy to a neighbor and actually loving someone who is a member of the Body? This is a topic that will require much more than just a few paragraphs to bring to light. Suffice it to say that if someone calls upon Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, they are a brother or a sister to anyone and everyone who also makes that same profession. We are to love them. We are also called to show love and mercy to those who are not part of the Body of Christ. If you stop to think about this last statement, perhaps the very love and mercy that you show will be what the Lord uses to reach their heart!

To play it safe, it sounds like we should show the love of Jesus to everyone. How can we claim to love God and still have hate in our hearts for anyone whom God loves?

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))

Who are your brother and sister?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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How can we do any less than love?

September 18, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
(Luke 6:27-31 (NIV))

At what point do you think that God allows us to stop loving our enemies?

And, yes, this could very easily be a trick question.

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))

With that in mind, every single person is a loved child of God.

Does God stop loving? Does Jesus stop loving?

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV))

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
(1 Peter 4:8 NIV))

Love is a powerful force. It can turn an enemy into a brother. It can turn a foe into a friend. It can restore relationships that seem to be lost. It can bring healing and wholeness.

Do you remember the words that Jesus spoke on the cross?

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
(Luke 23:34 (NIV))

If Jesus can pronounce forgiveness and love after suffering what He suffered on the cross, how can we do any less?

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