Why do You still love us?

September 23, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him,”
(Job 7:17 (ESV))

It is often said that the Bible is actually God’s love letter to His creation.

Is that how you see it?

It sounds like Job saw it this way. He knew that the Lord loves those who love Him. He knew that God wants people to come to Him of their own free will. He knew that God desires nothing more than a personal relationship with each and every person who has ever or will ever walk this earth. From this passage, it is clear that Job was amazed that God cared so much for His creation. To be honest with you, God created everything from the planets and the stars to the microscopic single cell animals and plants. In all of this vast creation, man is the greatest love of God’s. Everything that He has done or ever will do is for His creation.

I have often stated that I love to read and compare various translations, for the subtleties truly bring things to life. The Complete Jewish Bible translates this passage in this manner.

“What are mere mortals, that you make so much of them? Why do you keep them on your mind?”
(Job 7:17 (CJB))

We are told that where our treasure is there our heart will be also. We are also told that what we think about is what we treasure. In reading these two translations, we are clearly told that we are in God’s heart and on His mind. We are His treasure!

With all that humanity has done, God still loves us.

With all the rebellion that is in our hearts, God still loves us.

In fact, He loves us so much that He devised a plan to bring us to redemption.

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))

All that we have to do is accept this amazing grace for ourselves!

We know that God’s ways are far above our ways, yet, I often wonder what motivates God to do such an amazing thing for us even when we don’t deserve it.

Why do You still love us?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What sustains you in your hunger?

July 13, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
(Matthew 4:4 (NIV))

People are hungry!

People are starving for the grace and truth that can only be found in God, and the sad part is that they don’t realize it. They try to satisfy their hunger with anything and everything that catches their attention, while ignoring the only thing that can truly satisfy their longings. It is said that we have a God-shaped hole within us and I honestly believe that to be true. We try to fill this hole, this void, with anything and with everything that we can possibly imagine. Some turn to alcohol. Some turn to drugs. Others turn to money, and still others will turn to the lusts of the flesh. Nothing that this world can offer can fill this void. Nothing that this world can offer can satisfy this hunger.

Jesus came into this world to save us from our sins. He came into this world to satisfy our hunger.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
(John 6:35 (NIV))

Jesus satisfies our hunger. Jesus satisfies our soul. Jesus fills the God-shaped hole within each of 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))

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us
(John 1:14a (NIV))

I love how God does things. Jesus is the Bread of Life. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which means house of bread. Jesus, the Bread of Life, was born in the house of bread. This sheds light on the Passover Seder when Jesus broke the bread and told His disciples to take and eat, for it is His body. It can’t get any clearer than that. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, and by doing this, He satisfies the hunger within us.

What sustains you in your hunger?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 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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Rejoice in that gift every single day!

April 1, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
(Romans 5:19 (NIV))

Easter is just about upon us. It is the day that we celebrate how the obedience of one perfect man made many righteous.

Have you ever played team sports? Each team sport allows for substitutions. Take a look at baseball. You can have someone take your place and run the bases for you. Basketball allows substitutions for various reasons, including the simple reason of giving someone a much needed rest.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. God perfected the substitution idea and allowed His only begotten Son, Jesus, to take our place so that we would not have to face the ultimate penalty. Jesus took it all upon Himself. He went into the game so that we could face life without the penalty of sin and death.

Friday will soon be upon us. It is the anniversary of when Jesus bore the cross and died as a substitute for us.

Rejoice!

That is not the end of the story. On the third day, Jesus arose and forever changed the rules. Grace abounds because God sent Jesus to substitute Himself and bear the burdens of our sins.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
(Romans 8:1-4 (NIV))

One man made many righteous. Rejoice in that amazing gift this coming Easter Sunday. Don’t stop there. Rejoice in that gift every single day!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you going to say something?

February 23, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.
(Ezekiel 33:7-9 (NIV))

Everybody reads this passage and looks at it from the perspective of what will happen to them if they don’t sound the warning. In all honesty, I am not going to dispute this. I do want to pose something for your consideration that I hadn’t thought of before. In fact, the concept for this thought came from a recent video posted by a pastor that I follow. It caught me off guard. It put a different perspective on this passage to the point that I no longer only see this as a selfish motive for sounding the warning. I was shown the perspective on this passage from the wicked person’s point of view.

Imagine the one who needs to hear the Gospel is someone whom you love. For the sake of setting the stage for this example, when they die and are facing an eternal separation from God, what will they think of you? What will be going through their mind when they realize that you had the way to salvation and did not share it with them?

“Why didn’t you say something?”

“Didn’t you love me enough to let me know what was coming?”

“Why did you give up on me?”

I want you to close your eyes and imagine your son, your daughter, your spouse, your parents, or your friends saying these things to you. It’s not a very pleasant thought. How would you feel if this were to happen? How would you feel knowing that someone you love is facing an eternity of torment simply because you weren’t sharing the Gospel with them?

If someone matters to you, you don’t simply give up!

With that said, imagine how much more the Lord loves those who are perishing. We, as sinful humanity, love only those around us. We love only those whom we know. Jesus knows each of us and loves each of us. If we are to be His hands and feet in this world, we are to love as He loves. We are to warn them of what is coming. We are to share the good news that allows them to receive salvation!

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))

Are you going to say something?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How will you be remembered?

December 1, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes 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))

Human endeavors sometimes can make you laugh, especially when the endeavors are all geared towards what an individual can attain. Some people simply do not grasp the concept that they are only here for a short time and then they will be gone. All of their selfish striving will mean nothing one hundred years from now. It may even be sooner than that.

What do we do with the number of days that we have been given?

We cannot take any of the worldly possessions with us when we die. These possessions often rust and deteriorate even before we die. There is only one thing that is ours that we will be able to take with us when we die. Our soul is that one thing. Where we take it is up to us. If we recognize our mortality and accept the grace and mercy offered to us through the atoning blood of Jesus, then our soul will be taken to spend eternity with God. If we do not accept Jesus, then our soul will be cast into the lake of fire and eternal separation from God.

You cannot put a price tag on a soul, yet, a single soul is worth far more than all of the treasures that this world has to offer. What is the worth of all of the souls that have ever lived? What would be the price for all of these souls? I cannot begin to fathom the cost, yet, Jesus willingly paid the price for all of us!

Our days may be like grass, but our memory will be eternal through Jesus!

How will you be remembered?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you found a new beginning?

October 28, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
(Proverbs 1:7 (NIV))

What is it about human nature that makes us all think that we are capable of anything and everything on our own strength, skills and abilities? It starts as a toddler. I still remember my now adult daughter as a two year old adamantly saying “Me do it!” Now she has a little girl who is almost two. She is just now only beginning to express her independence in a similar manner. I knowingly look forward to the quest for independence that my granddaughter will be going through. Without such a quest, we don’t mature. We don’t grow. But, there comes a point when and where we must also be willing to grow by seeking wisdom and instruction from a source beyond ourselves.

Some people never do grow to that point, and even those who do have relapses where we despise wisdom and instruction. We have all experienced something today where we thought that we could do it better than the person who was doing it. Perhaps some of us even said it out loud!

What happens when that human nature that likes to rebel against authority comes into direct rebellion against the Lord?

Actually, I don’t have enough time to recount all the things that have been recorded when this has happened. Most of the Bible is the story of how God created, man rebelled, God reached out to save, and man rebelled again. Even when Jesus stepped out of heaven to come to this world, that story continued. It will continue until the Lord returns. The big difference is that now we can repent and accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. We can choose to fear the Lord, or should I say that we can choose to fear the consequences from the Lord that result from our sinful actions. I have previously said that this fear is not one of trembling, but of respect. In the same manner that we feared our father when we were growing up, we need to fear the Lord. The Lord is full authority and just in His reprimands. He still loves us. He loves us enough to not allow us to stay in rebellion. He will try to draw us to Him so that we can learn and repent.

Some people have interpreted this fear to mean respect. I agree with this concept. If you respect the Lord, you also fear His reprimand. It is your desire to do what pleases the Lord. It is said that David was a man after God’s own heart. How do you think that this came to be? David feared the Lord, yet he also loved and respected the Lord. When he came to this point in his life, David found a new beginning that led him in step with the Lord.

Have you found a new beginning?

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

September 21, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
(Matthew 4:4 (NIV))

What does your diet consist of?

We have a tendency to think that the only thing that matters is what we put into our physical body, and some people don’t even worry about this aspect of their existence. Far too many of us fill out bodies with things that are harmful and we never even think about the consequences.

How many people are actually concerned with the spiritual nutrition that they should be concerned with?

There is an old saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Think about that. If you spend time feeding your mind and your spirit foul and harmful garbage, eventually you will get to a point where that is what comes out. You are what you eat, both physically and spiritually.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 (NIV))

We must embrace the Word. We must read it. We must study it. We must strive to live by it! We must feast on the sweetest truths and the sweetest promises that humanity has ever been given. These sweetest truths and promises can only be found in the very heart of the One who created us. When your diet consists of daily time spent feasting on God’s Word, you grow to understand the very heart of God. This daily diet allows for a fuller life as God intended. It helps you to live in the present and promises an eternal life through the atoning blood of Jesus.

Far too many people are still living on sin.

What are you living on?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Does the enemy ask who you are?

August 12, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”
(Acts 19:15 (NIV))

Have you ever felt like the odd man out?

You know what I mean. The last person picked for something. The only one who has not chosen a side. The person who is so quiet that you don’t know what they want. The person who tries to drop names in hopes of being allowed in with the cool kids, but it backfires completely.

Think about that with an eternal, spiritual perspective. Imagine dropping the name of Jesus in a situation where the evil spirit fights back because it recognizes the fact that you don’t truly know Jesus. You are just claiming His name because you think it will provide some sort of advantage or gain in the situation.

Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.
(Acts 19:13-14 (NIV))

There is a difference between using the name of Jesus and truly knowing Jesus. There is also a difference that leads to the enemy recognizing your authority over them. They recognize the power that can only come through truly knowing the Lord.

Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
(Acts 19:16 (NIV))

Do you truly know Jesus? Can you boldly proclaim His name in the face of the enemy and know that the Lord will be with you through all that you face? All throughout history, truly knowing Jesus has had importance on an eternal level. We are getting to a point in history where a true relationship with Jesus is crucial in this physical world as well. We must be bold in our faith. We must stand firm in our convictions. We must proclaim the name of Jesus without fear and without shame. That is only possible if we truly have a personal Lord and Savior who stands with us closer than a brother. If this is true, then the enemy knows your name!

Does the enemy ask who you are?

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

August 5, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
(Hebrews 4:16 (NIV))

Today is not the time to be timid with your faith!

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

How is your confidence in what you profess to believe?

We are facing very unusual circumstances in today’s world. Many people believe that what we are seeing unfolding is what is foretold in the books of Revelation and Daniel. To be honest with you, there are so many evil things happening in the world during this time that it wouldn’t surprise me if we are seeing these things unfold. With this high possibility, I have one very important question for you to ask yourself.

If what we are seeing is what is foretold, will your confidence and faith bring you grace and mercy?

We have been given a blessed hope. That hope is firmly rooted in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We know that God has a plan of salvation. We know that God has a plan to defeat the enemy. We know how God’s plan unfolds, yet we fail to see the signs that say that it is unfolding.

He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.
(Matthew 16:2-3 (NIV))

All through out this unusual year, I have heard numerous believers say that they wish things would get back to normal. They are planning for a return to what we used to know. They are either overlooking the idea that they will not return because they love the way things used to be more than they love the Lord, or they are too afraid to admit that they don’t know enough about what the Lord has told us. Either way, they are looking at the world and placing their hope in man and the creation instead of placing their hope and confidence in the Creator.

We have been given an insight. We know who wins. We should be confident of that as we face the hours, days and months ahead. There is a saying that comes to mind. “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.” As we face the future, we must face it with confidence in the One who holds the future.

How is your confidence?

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