Do you humble yourself and bow to the Lord?

December 2, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
(Psalms 138:2 (NIV))

Awe and reverence!

Two characteristics that clearly manifest themselves in people who truly understand God’s power, majesty, grace, mercy and love. How can anyone who truly understands these godly traits do anything except bow down and praise God for what He has done?

No one else is capable of doing what God has done. Only God could have offered us grace and mercy that is eternal. Only God could have sent His Son to be an atoning sacrifice for our iniquities.

We did not ask Him to do it. He volunteered to do it because of His great love for us! How can we do any less that bow down and praise Him for what He has done, after all, He did not have to do any of it, for He is God. No one forces Him to do anything. No one can ever say that God has done something that goes against His very nature. If God cannot do anything that goes against His nature and He sent us Jesus to be our atoning sacrifice for our sins, then we have a Creator who truly loves us in spite of ourselves.

Have you bowed down in reverence and respect before God lately? Have you praised God for all that He has done for you? Have you actually thought about the grace and mercy that was freely given to you at the cost of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ?

Do you humble yourself and bow to the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must occupy until He returns!

October 11, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’
(Luke 19:13 (ESV))

Engage in business until I come!

If you read this parable and miss that the master is Jesus, then engage in business means just that. However, if you make the connection that Jesus is telling His disciples that He will be leaving, then you understand that engaging in His business is telling the world about the grace and mercy that is only found through Himself. Another translation puts it this way.

And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
(Luke 19:13 (KJV))

As followers of Jesus, we are to occupy until He comes. This translation brings to the table a different, more emphatic instruction set for those who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. We are to occupy this world. When I read this translation, my mind automatically thinks of an occupying army. They do what they are commanded and do not fear the consequences, for they have an authority that is not native to the land that they answer to. They are to carry out the instructions that they have been given. As the Body of Christ, we have been given instructions that we are to perform until His return.

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))

The church, the Body of Christ, is an occupying army. We are instructed to take captive those who are currently not following Jesus. We are instructed to share the Gospel of salvation with a sinful and dying world. We are to rebuke the enemy. We are instructed to bind the power of the enemy and to show people how they can break the chains of bondage to sin.

The translations that refer to engaging in business don’t paint the complete picture in my mind. Most people think of buying and selling and making a profit when you mention business. I am not capable of reading this passage in the original language, so I have to rely on the people who have performed the translations. Word choice can make a big difference. I know that it does for me.

What about you?

What translation conveys this passage in the best way, the most understandable way, for you?

No matter which translation you choose, we are called to be doing the work that Jesus instructed us to do until He returns. Many people, myself included, believe that recent world events indicate that the time of the end is rapidly approaching. We are called to be His light in a dark and dying world. We are called to share the Gospel into the lives of sinners in need of a Savior. We are called to be about His business!

Are you performing the duties that we have been given?

We must occupy until He returns!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you participate in true and proper worship?

July 26, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
(Romans 12:1 (NIV))

I want you to read that passage again and let it sink in.

If we profess a faith in Jesus, we are called to leave behind the things of this world. We are called to leave behind the sin that had us enslaved. We are called to repent and follow Jesus in all that we do!

Have you ever truly considered what that looks like in relation to this passage?

When the sacrificial system was in place at the temple in Jerusalem, the animals that were to be sacrificed were to be spotless. They were to be perfect with no blemishes or defects. How do we offer our bodies as a living sacrifice if we are to offer our best to God?

Do we let our bodies get obese if we can control it?

Do we fill our bodies with alcohol and drugs?

Do we abuse our bodies in ways that cause harm?

Take a look at your life and how you treat your body. Is it pleasing to God?

Do you participate in true and proper worship?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you fulfilling His requirements?

January 5, 2022

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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))

Sometimes we get so caught up in what the world calls good that we lose sight of what is truly good.

Lately, we have seen things in this world that no one in their right mind would call good. In fact, many would say that the world is calling evil good and good is being called evil. Where do you stand on the things that have been happening in this world? Do you think that they are escalating in frequency and intensity? Do you long for things to return to some type of normalcy or have you started looking up?

If you love the world, you are probably focused on being able to return to the things that you used to know. How does that appear to be going? Do you see any signs of this happening in the near future?

If you love the Lord, you are probably looking around at what is going on and, as a result, your gaze has shifted. Have you started looking for the Lord? I honestly believe that many who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are doing just that. We see signs and know that the time is close. Still, what do we do while still in this world? What do we do when we encounter those who have fallen for the delusion and believe that good is evil and that evil is good?

That is a very tough question, but it has a very simple answer!

We are to treat them in the same manner that we long to be treated. We are to act justly.

We are to show mercy when our human nature eggs us on to fall back into our depraved, sinful nature. We are to love mercy even when we are not shown mercy by this world, for we have been shown the greatest mercy of all.

We are to live out our lives in humility for we are all sinners in need of a Savior. We must not allow our ego and pride to be the stumbling block that prevents someone from coming to a saving relationship with Jesus.

Only God knows what tomorrow will bring. We must allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit in such a way that we are being obedient to His calling no matter what the circumstances. We must always keep our eyes on Jesus!

Are you fulfilling His requirements?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you accepted His mercy?

December 17, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

His mercy extends to those who fear him,
     from generation to generation.
(Luke 1:50 (NIV))

Have you ever read these words and realized that this is the reason that Jesus came into the world?

He came to bring us mercy. He came to bring us grace. He came to bring us hope. He came to bring us something that we could not achieve on our own, and that was a way to be reconciled, to be made righteous in the eyes of God the Father. If that isn’t mercy, then what is it? Perhaps you could say that it is love.

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 you think of the birth of Jesus, many things comes to mind, but the one thing that we must remember is that God came to be with us so that His mercy could be explained and offered firsthand. He came to fulfill the law so that we could be held blameless and righteous through His actions. He came so that we could have abundant life in this world and with Him in eternity.

He provided a way for us to escape the consequences of our sinful, human nature and all that we have to do to be shown this mercy is follow a plan as easy as ABC.

A is for 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.

Have you accepted His mercy?

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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Are you keeping His commands?

April 19, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If you love me, keep my commands.
(John 14:15 (NIV))

Is it just me, or are the last three words extremely difficult to achieve?

If you truly profess a faith in Jesus, then you should truly love Jesus for who He is and for what He has done, but human nature always creeps into the picture!

Ever since the fall from grace, human nature has been incapable of perfectly following God’s instructions. We always miss the mark. We always sin. Even after the grace and mercy freely given to us at the cross, we are incapable of perfectly following God’s instructions. But, if you truly stop to think about this, that is exactly why we were given the gift of grace and mercy. Even after acknowledging our sinful nature, we still sin. Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior does not make you perfect on your own merit. It makes you perfect because you have exchanged your imperfections and sin for His perfection and righteousness in the eyes of God.

What does change is the desire to keep His commands!

What does change is the understanding that you will constantly fail.

What does change is your realization that He died to save you from the consequences of your sins.

What does change is your sinful, selfish attitude to a thankful, loving attitude.

What does change is your desire to strive to follow Him in all that you do.

Keeping His commands is not easy. If it were easy, Jesus would not have come into this world to die for our sins. What is easier is repenting when we fall short. What is easier is having a thankful heart for His grace and mercy. As I stated, keeping His commands is not easy, but striving to follow Jesus is the ultimate sign of your love for Him.

Are you keeping His commands?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is God to you?

December 17, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?
(Psalms 8:3-4 (NIV))

How many times have you read or heard this passage?

If you are like me, you have had numerous encounters with this verse, but have you ever considered that this passage written by David is a perfect lead-in to God’s plan of salvation? David asked and God answered by providing grace and 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))

Isn’t that what Christmas is about?

Humanity is a sinful, fallen creation that had no hope of redemption or grace! God had other plans. He had promised that salvation would come through the lineage of David. What we celebrate at Christmas is the fulfillment of this promise. What we celebrate is the fulfillment of hope. What we celebrate is the arrival of grace!

Consider David’s words. He asked God what we are to Him and He showed us!

The problem is that we are too arrogant and prideful to accept what we have been shown. We need to become more like David, who humbled himself enough to ask. Once we humble ourselves, God will show us more than we can imagine. He will give us more than we can comprehend. When we are able to truly humble ourselves, the true meaning of Christmas becomes obvious. We were lost and in need of a Savior. Because of God’s great love for us, He gave us salvation through Jesus.

We know what we are to God. What is God to you?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Through the eyes of a little child!

December 15, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all–he is the greatest.”
(Luke 9:48 (NIV))

I have read this passage many times and tonight it hit me in a way that I had not thought of before. Perhaps it is the time of year with Christmas very close, but something made me look at this in a different light.

I know that many Christians have trouble with the idea of Santa Claus, but if you consider the roots of this “person,” you come away with a different perspective. Nicholas was a 4th century Christian who was known for helping children. He is also known for other things, but his love and help of children has gained him much notoriety. There are various different stories about Nicholas, but the one thing that stands out is how he used his love for Jesus to reach out to the little children.

Perhaps our understanding of Santa Claus could use a true historical perspective based on church history and not on what society has made him. Perhaps our understanding of many things could use a true historical perspective based on church history.

Could you imagine a Christmas not tied up in gifts and decorations, but in the grace and mercy that God gave us through the manger? Could you imagine a Christmas based on the greatest gift of all times instead of the “perfect gift” that will be obsolete in a short time?

Nicholas came to mind because of his ministry to children. Jesus told us that we are to be as little children. We need to look at His love without the sins of the world trying to cling to everything and distort the truth about the greatest gift that humanity could ever be given.

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

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Perhaps we need to look at the gift of Christmas through the eyes of a little child once again!

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