Set the world aside and focus on the Lord!

November 28, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
(Psalms 46:10a (NIV))

This has been my life verse for over twenty-five years. I have been on a faith journey, and it has been one that I have documented with those who are willing to read. I do this because I have been given a calling, and I do this because what I write is not solely for me. Everyone goes through things in their lives that we can all relate to. I have been called to be open and to share my faith journey in anticipation that God will use these writings to reach people in their time of need, their time of curiosity, or their time of seeking. Even so, I am only human, and I am subject to human limitations and human frailties.

The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
(Mark 14:38b (NIV))

I have chosen to leave out the first part of this passage, for it was not temptation that sidelined me. A family pet turned on me and rendered me incapable of doing much of anything. I know that thumbs are important to our daily lives, but you never truly understand how important until you have lost the ability to use either thumb for almost two weeks. I couldn’t even hold my Bible without pain, or read on my phone or tablet in one of the many Bible apps that I have. Add to that the IV antibiotics on a schedule that seemed to be every two hours for almost five days, and I was left with only my prayer time. I had to learn to be still in His presence all over again. All of my normal quiet time that I spend daily in prayer, reading, studying, and writing had to be set aside. All that I had was my time to just talk to the Lord. To be honest with you, I did not spend as much time as I should have in prayer, but it was a start. I have come away with a renewed sense of peace.

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

I came away completely knowing that whatever happens to me, He is there.

This is only the second time that I have had to be admitted to the hospital, and both times I was in complete peace. Six years ago as I laid in the cardiology ICU with sever blood clots, I never once feared what could have happened. The same held true for this time as well. It is such a comforting feeling to have complete peace in and through your faith in Jesus even when your world is being completely turned upside down.

Do you have that complete peace in your life?

It starts with admitting that you are a sinner in need of a Savior and that Jesus is that Savior. Once you do this, I highly recommend spending time in His presence. Take the time to be still and get to know the one who already knows you intimately. I promise you that you will not be disappointed.

Set the world aside and focus on the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What have you set your mind on?

November 14, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
(Colossians 3:2 (NIV))

We all have those things that we constantly think about. These are the things that fill our thoughts when we are not being distracted by other things such as work, family, sporting events, and other such worldly pursuits. What we think about is a choice! In all honesty, it is so very easy for these very things that I just listed to become what we set our minds on, for we often choose to think on these things and completely neglect what we are truly called to think about.

My son, keep my words
     and store up my commands within you.
Keep my commands and you will live;
     guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.
Bind them on your fingers;
     write them on the tablet of your heart.
(Proverbs 7:1-3 (NIV))

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
(Matthew 6:21 (NIV))

God knows us all too well. He knows that what we think about is what we hold in our hearts. He knows the sinful, fallen human nature all too well. He knows that we are driven by desires. He knows that our sinful nature is what we will think of by default. I love the message in Colossians for it tells us distinctly to abandon our sinful nature and think only of the things of God.

Just how do you go about setting your mind on things above?

It takes a commitment!

You must dive deeply into God’s Word and search the scriptures so that you can know God intimately. You must love the Lord with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul. You must long for His truth above all else and you must recognize your own sinful nature.

That last one hurts! It is human nature to not want to admit that we are anything less than perfect. Too many of us think that we are masters of our own domain, our own destiny, and that anything that we do is perfectly acceptable. We don’t want to admit that we need help, let alone that we need a Savior to rescue us from our sin. That whole attitude changes when you recognize that you are a sinner in need of a Savior, and start focusing on the Lord and not on yourself. We soon realize that we are not the center of our own little world. It is a matter of perspective. How we look upon our lives will determine what we set our minds on. If you see this life as your chance to get all that this world has to offer, then you will think of the things of this world.

What have you set your mind on?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you content in the Lord?

February 26, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
(Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV))

Paul faced many adversities in his life after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Yet, throughout everything that he faced, he was not angry or resentful, for he knew true peace and contentment.

Contentment does not come from the situation that you are in, nor does it come from finances or the correct political climate. True peace and contentment comes from knowing that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, and that all things promised from God are “Yes” in Jesus.

The human condition is an interesting condition. Where there is pain and adversity, there is almost always despair. People have done serious things because of despair. Add the element of hope, and the consequences are greatly reduced. Add the element of certain favorable outcome, and the human spirit goes from one of total despair to total joy.

What Paul knew was the most certain thing that he had ever faced. Through his encounter with Jesus, he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that not only is there hope, but there is a glorious certainty for those who have accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Because of this certainty, he was able to face anything that the world could send his way. He had a goal, and he kept his eyes on that goal. Everything he encountered along the way was nothing more than a pothole on the road to that goal.

Have you set your eyes on that goal in the same way that Paul did, or do you let the circumstances of life change you objective?

Are you content in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is there such a place?

September 14, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
(Psalms 139:7 (NIV))

Based on this passage, how do you react to people who tell believers to take our God and leave? How do you react to people who say that He only belongs in church?

Sadly, they have no understanding of just who God is and exactly how everything came into being. They fail to acknowledge Him and they also fail to understand that they cannot go anywhere in all of creation where His Spirit will not be. They fail to realize that He knows every single time that they reject Him!

This simple truth, as painful as it may be for those who choose to reject the Lord, is also a welcome truth for the time when they do have a change of heart. Because He is everywhere, all that anyone needs to do is simply say, “Lord, I am a sinner in need of a Savior!” Because of what Jesus did on the cross, we no longer have to go to a temple, the Temple, to sacrifice for forgiveness of our sins. We can repent and turn to the Lord anywhere we may find ourselves. It is a process as simple as A, B, C.

A. Admit that you are a sinner.
B. Believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, was buried and that God raised Him from the dead.
C. Call upon the name of the Lord by confessing that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords.

If what David wrote were not true, how could any of us be saved? How could we be heard? How could the stirrings in our hearts and the thoughts of our minds be known? How could we be saved by simply following these steps to salvation if the Spirit of God was not everywhere?

Too many people try to place God in a box based on their own understanding. They try to limit where God can go!

Is there such a place?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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We need to live each day two ways!

September 7, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
(Acts 1:11 (NIV))

Have we forgotten this promise?

Too many people who profess a faith in Jesus look to Him as their Savior when they die and face eternity. This is a true depiction, but there is more. We are told that He will return at some point in history and those who are looking for Him will see Him return in the same way that He left.

Have you accepted this aspect of Jesus?

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV))

In other words, we can’t pick and choose what we believe and ignore the rest. We must accept the fact that He will return one day and it may be before we die!

Why do so many people who profess a faith in Jesus live as if He is not going to return? Why do so many ignore the promise that He will be seen again on this side of heaven? We, as the Body of Christ, seem to have the eternal aspects of our relationship with Jesus well in hand, after all, Jesus saves us from the one thing that we all fear. He offers eternal salvation which overcomes the fear of the unknown, the fear of death. But what about the authority of Jesus in this world and His return to defeat the enemy and establish that authority? Why do we ignore, why do we forget about that aspect of Jesus?

Do you look for His return? Do you long for Jesus to return for His church? Do you look up and pray to see His glory and majesty?

I am thankful that we have the assurance of our eternal salvation for when we face death, but I am also extremely thankful for the promise that Jesus will return. We live each day of our lives thankful for the one, but I offer that it is time that we learn to live in anticipation of the other. We must not surrender the one in order to accept the other.

We need to live each day two ways!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is Jesus your Lord and your Savior?

August 20, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
(Romans 10:9 (NIV))

Can you count to two?

If these were the rules for a contest, reading the requirements for participating would be over very quickly. Still, so many people have trouble with this. Do you?

God wanted to, and perhaps He even felt that He needed to make this as simple as possible since we are only human. After all, we only had one instruction in the Garden of Eden. We were not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and we blew that.

I realize that I am being a little condescending, but in all reality, it is a simple process to gain God’s grace and mercy. We must start with an acknowledgment that we are sinners in need of a Savior. Once we come to that realization, then the rest is simple.

Declare with your mouth.

Believe in your heart.

Do your heart and your mouth make this declaration?

Is Jesus your Lord and your Savior?

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.
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Are you ready for Jesus?

July 22, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
(Matthew 24:27 (NIV))

Do you ever sit outside and watch the lightning as a storm approaches? Everything gets dark as the storm begins to build. The darker it gets, the worse the storm. Then, out of what seems like nowhere, lightning breaks forth and illuminates the sky. You never know where and when it will come, but you know that it will. You sit there in anticipation of the lightning. You sit there in awe of the splendor and the power. You sit there and watch in amazement at the lightning in the distance and you know that it is coming your way.

Take a serious look at the darkness of the storm that the world is currently facing. I am certain that some people will remember dark periods in their lives. There have been dark periods in not too distant history. The one thing that gave the world hope was a resolve to defeat the darkness. Today, too many people are more than willing to embrace the darkness.

We need the lightning!

We need Jesus!

I don’t know about you, but this passage gives me a mental image of Jesus coming in power and in light. He breaks the darkness with just His presence. He touches people here. He touches people there. His coming is like the lightning. It is a magnificent vision for those who have called upon His name as Lord and Savior. For those who have denied Him, it is one of sadness and fear.

Some believe that the Body of Christ will see this from the earth. Some believe that we will be by His side as He comes down from heaven. Either way, I can rest assured that this will be the most glorious entrance that the world has ever seen. It will be the most powerful display in all of history.

It will be a lightning show magnified by a heavenly host.

It will pierce the darkness. It will be a resounding victory just as we have been told.

Are you ready for the lightning? Are you ready for the power? Are you ready for Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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If you believe, tell someone!

July 8, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
(Romans 10:10 (NIV))

If you had invented something that would truly benefit every single person who ever lived, would you keep it bottled up inside and never share it with anyone? You would shout it from the mountain tops. You would be so full of enthusiastic energy that everyone you meet would be told about your invention and how much that they need it. That is human nature. If you ignore the sinful nature of human pride, most of us would still share this kind of situation just because we want others to be as happy and fulfilled as we are. We have a tendency to want to share good news with anyone and everyone who will listen.

Why are so many of us afraid to share our faith with others?

Think about that in context of the previous questions. Jesus is far greater than anything else that we could ever share, yet, most of us don’t share our faith at all. We claim that it is a personal matter. We claim that we believe, yet we aren’t willing to tell anyone what we believe or why we believe it.

We aren’t willing to profess with our mouths!

If you are reading this, I can probably make the safe assumption that you believe in Jesus in your heart. That is fantastic, but have you told your friends? Have you told your family? Have you told those you work with? Have you verbally pronounced that you have placed your faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior? Think about your answer in context with the last half of Romans 10:10. Have you fulfilled this part of your salvation? Have you made a public proclamation?

If you have good news, it is human nature to want to share it. What better news is there than this?

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))

I can’t think of better news that the whole world needs to hear!

If you believe, tell someone!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Come to Jesus and find rest!

June 19, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV))

All of us need rest in the physical world!

How many have thought about spiritual rest and the impact that it has on our physical existence? If we are truly at rest in the Lord, our physical world, no matter what we may face, will also be at rest. We will be at peace. If we focus on finding rest in the physical world first, we will never find true rest and our spiritual rest will also be nonexistent.

Think about your priorities.

God does not want us to be burdened and heavy laden. He wants us to have the peace that only He can provide. He has even given us a way to get that peace, because there is nothing that we can do to achieve it ourselves. Jesus is the peace that God has given us. He is our rest and our hope. He is our spiritual big brother who is looking out for us. We can have rest. It is a rest better than any we have ever known.

Come to Jesus and find rest!

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