Are you making a difference through Jesus?

April 13, 2017

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))

I am sure that everyone has heard someone say, “What can I do? I am only one person.” This verse shows the power that one person can have in someone’s life, for it is through one that all have been made to suffer, and then it is through One that all may come to grace.

One person can make a difference!

Look at what Jesus was able to do for us through his life, death and resurrection. Take a look at what the disciples were able to do after Jesus was resurrected. I am sure that each one of them thought that they could not make a difference, yet, through their faith and work, the Truth has been spread for almost 2000 years.

We have been given an amazing gift of grace through Jesus. Each of us, although only one, can make a difference in the lives of everyone that we touch.

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you yoked by the burden of slavery to sin?

April 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
(Galatians 5:1 (NIV))

If you are caught in a trap and will surely die, how do you react if someone rescues you?

Do you turn away from the trap and promise to never go back there again, or do you fight the one who rescues you and jump right back into the trap?

Human nature is a funny thing!

When the dangers are physical and immediate, we have a tendency to thank the one who rescues us. We have a tendency to embrace the rescue and turn away from the danger, but we seem to be blinded when the danger is not immediate. The danger may be just as real, but because it is not immediately life threatening, we think that we have time to address the issue before it takes its toll.

We also seem to be blinded when the danger is spiritual.

Many times it is a spiritual danger that temps us into the physical dangers. The enemy knows that if he can trick us into believing that the spiritual side of things are not important at the moment then he can subject us to the physical dangers. He knows all too well that the physical dangers can lead to death. He knows that if we have not accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then our physical death will also mean our spiritual death.

The enemy knows that sin leads to death!

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?
(Romans 6:16 (NIV))

Are you yoked by the burden of slavery to sin?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you returned? Are you still returning?

March 20, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
(Joel 2:12-13 (NIV))

Are you ashamed of where you have been?

Perhaps I should ask if you are ashamed of where you are?

Let’s face the hard, unadulterated truth. We are all human, and human nature means that we are not perfect. We have all done things that are far from what Jesus calls us to do. Most of us like to think that this is all in our past, after all, we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior! In reality, we still sin. Our human nature doesn’t go away. We must allow the Holy Spirit to influence our lives, to control the sinful nature that lies within all of us.

We must repent daily!

When we repent, we turn away from our sin and return to God. It is an act of obedience that we must do daily, if not more often, for our sinful, human nature will try to make us return to our sin.

Accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is not the end of your walk with Jesus. It is only the beginning! When you go for a walk, do you ever find yourself making mid-walk corrections and adjustments to make sure that you end up at your ultimate destination. Sometimes you must turn left. Other times you must turn right. Along the way you may have to step over or around obstacles. Sometimes you must turn around or return. Walking with Jesus is much the same way. Our sinful nature will start to lead us down a path that is not right. We must be sure to listen for the call to return to the path that Jesus desires for us to walk.

Have you returned to the Lord to be able to begin anew? Are you returning to Him on a daily basis?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you walk in the light?

January 13, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
(1 John 1:7 (NIV))

I know that we are all familiar with this passage, but have you ever truly stopped to think about what it really means to be in the light?

Unlike popular belief, each person is not their own light. There are not multiple ways to walk in the light. We can not be enlightened, and we cannot achieve anything on our own. Jesus is the light of the world!

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 (NIV))

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
(John 12:46 (NIV))

Being in the light of Jesus means that you have recognized your sinful nature and that you need a Savior. Being in the light of Jesus means that you recognize your need to surrender your life to His guidance. You willingly accept Jesus as not only your Savior, but also your Lord.

Just what does having Jesus as your Lord mean. The word “Lord” means one who is in power or authority, of a high position, and one to whom service and obedience are due. In the physical world, a lord requires submission and allegiance. Those under the lord do not really have a choice. That is not the case when we give lordship over our lives to Jesus. We voluntarily surrender. We recognize the authority and willingly come in under that authority. In Jesus, the authority is not one of fear, but one of love, guidance and grace. We realize that we, in all of our human frailties, need Jesus. We need God!

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:6-7 (NIV))

When we walk in the light, we walk under the authority of Jesus! We walk under the power of Jesus! We walk under the grace of Jesus! We walk under the love of Jesus!

Do you walk in the light?

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you living your life in obedience to God’s calling?

June 12, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
(Ephesians 4:1 (NIV))

I realize that Paul was in prison or under house arrest when he wrote to the church at Ephasus, but have you stopped to think about his words from a spiritual side?

What could be the meaning in your life for being a prisoner for the Lord?

Are you able to escape?

Are you bound to Him?

Are you a servant to the Lord?

There are many ways that we can be a prisoner for the Lord. What has He called you to do that you are joyously bound to complete? We all have been given a calling in our relationship with the Lord. It is not a relationship of bondage, but it is a relationship of joy. Paul willingly went into the situations that he faced, even the ones that he knew would end in his being placed under arrest or in prison. He knew that once he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus, his life was not his own. He knew that he was forever bound to do the will of Jesus in spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles.

Paul lived his life in obedience to that calling.

Are you living your life in obedience to God’s calling?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What is your reputation?

May 6, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
(Revelation 3:1-3 (NIV))

What is your reputation?

Do you present a facade to the world that is different from what God sees? Do people think that you are a righteous person who longs to follow Jesus? What would they think of the truth that is inside of you?

God sees all and He knows all. There is no hiding from God.

Would God tell you that He has not found your deeds complete? Would He call you to obedience and repentance?

Are you prepared to find out if God considers you to be righteous in His eyes?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you ready for the solid food of faith?

February 20, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey–no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.
(Luke 9:1-6 (NIV))

There is so much good stuff in this passage!

This is the solid food that was spoken of when we are no longer infants in the faith.

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
(Hebrew 5:13-14 (NIV))

When we mature, we are in a position to accept the power and the authority and use it as it was intended. When we are infants in the faith, we don’t know what to do and we don’t know what God can do. With this power and authority, we are confident in our ability to be used by God in any manner that He may choose. We also learn to rely upon Him and “take nothing for the journey.”

The next part is one that many people have a problem with because of our human nature. We don’t want to look like we have given up. When we are told to shake the dust off our feet, we must be mature enough to realize that this is not a reflection on our faith and obedience. It is a reflection on those who will not receive. Jesus knows that some people will not be receptive. We are called to be mature in our faith to recognize when we are being called to move on.

Are you mature enough to receive God’s power and authority? Are you ready for the solid food of faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Is God’s power foolishness to you?

February 19, 2015

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
(1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV))

I realize that I am stuck on a topic, but the power of God is something that we can never get too much of.

It is the power of God that created all things.

It is the power of God that gave you life.

It is the power of God that raised Jesus from the grave!

It is the power of God that brings salvation.

Is there any other power that has done any of this?

Is there any other power that can redeem us?

It is true that the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but if you think about it from God’s perspective, it is the ideal way to show power. Through the cross, the enemy thought that he was putting an end to God’s plans. Through the cross, the enemy violently put to death the one that God sent to bring redemption. It was foolish for anyone alive at this time to honestly believe that someone who had faced such a violent death would be alive and walking among us just three days later.

I find it amazing how God will use what we call foolishness to turn our world upside down.

I once heard a story about how a big revival got started. Members of a church started praying, and kept praying for months, for God to send a revival to their city. After months of praying, they were frustrated. It is my understanding that someone asked if anyone had heard God during all of this prayer time. One person finally admitted that they had heard a voice telling them to strike the table each time that they had been praying. They finally struck the table and God unleashed a revival on the city that lasted for years.

it sounds like foolishness, doesn’t it?

Is it foolishness or is it a step of faith in obedience?

God unleashes His power when we step out in faith and obedience!

Copyright 1998 – 2015 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you bound by human nature?

June 11, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven–the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
(John 3:12-15 (NIV))

Jesus knew human nature extremely well. People then, just as now, always want more than they are capable of handling. Perhaps this is even greed taken to the next level.

We have a tendency to want more than what we have. We want to be looked upon as either having more or knowing more than the people around us. I hate to say this, but some people probably even think that they could have done what Jesus did. I would even venture to say that there are some people who think that they could have done it better.

Isn’t human nature a funny thing?

We want the power and the glory, but we are not prepared to handle even a little bit of anything without totally messing it up.

Jesus knew this and He proclaimed human frailty concisely in the words recorded in John.

I am very thankful that Jesus did not follow human traits and boast that only He was allowed into heaven. He simply stated a fact and then proceeded to explain that He came so that those who believe may have eternal life through Him. There was no greed in these words. There was no pride in these words. There was simply love!

Jesus was giving us a glimpse of the depth of His love for each of us. He was not bragging. He was simply telling of God’s plan for salvation. If He can come to this earth to suffer and to die for our sins, then we should be able to humble ourselves and forget about our desires to be better than others and to have more than others, after all, Jesus is God’s only Son. In human thought processes, He has every right to boast and brag. Yet, He humbled himself unto death for us.

Do you understand the things that Jesus taught? Do you live your life as if you do?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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In other words, keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

June 9, 2014

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
(Luke 21:34-36 (NIV))

In other words, keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

“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))

No matter what we may face in this life, we must never forget where our strength lies. We must never forget that we are not our own source of strength. If we rely upon ourselves, then we will be weighed down by the anxieties of life. Our anxieties are far greater than we are. They are not greater than Jesus. When we focus on Jesus and the promises that He has fulfilled, then our anxieties tend to pale in comparison. We see His eternal strength and the fleeting problems soon are no longer important. They may still be there, but Jesus will give us the strength, His strength, to see them through.

We must stay alert and watch so that we will be able to discern the anxieties that come our way. Our vision will see them approaching and in our frail humanity, we may panic. We must learn to see them through the eyes of Jesus. Through His eyes, all obstacles are made easier. He teaches us how to rely on Him while we encounter them.

Are you ever watchful?

Copyright 1998 – 2014 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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