Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

September 15, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“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))

For years I have not only studied God’s Word, but I have also watched the news and have found pastors who have studied prophecy. I watch multiple different sources and weigh each source’s material against God’s Word. I recently became aware of a video that I feel that I need to share. This video was put together by the underground church in Iran. We know that the church in Iran is facing severe persecution, yet they felt that they needed to warn the church in America and in other parts of the western world! They see the signs even when we fail to recognize what is happening in our own back yard!

In America, we think that we are the ones going into all the world, but when believers in persecuted parts of the world reach out to warn us because they have been given insight by the Lord, we MUST listen. We must prepare. We must stop thinking that nothing like this could ever happen where we live. We must realize that the enemy is angry at those who profess a faith in Jesus no matter where we may live. We must be ready and willing to stand firm in our faith in Jesus even if it means persecution or death.

Are you prepared?

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
(Ephesians 6:13 (NIV))

We have been told that troubles will come.

Are you prepared?

Do you follow Jesus?

Are you prepared?

Are you at peace even in the midst of chaos?

Are you prepared?

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus!

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

September 12, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
(Ephesians 6:13 (NIV))

If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you have an assignment. You have been given marching orders. We are to go into all the world and share the Gospel. We are also told that we will face tribulation in this world, but to rely on Jesus because He has overcome the world.

We are also told to dress for battle!

If you believe that God is love and accepts everyone no matter what their lifestyle and the sin that they practice, then this doesn’t make sense. But, if you hold fast to the truth that Jesus came to set the captives free, to deliver the sinner from bondage, and to offer hope to a sinful, dying world by calling sinners to repentance, then you fully understand why we are to dress for battle. We will be facing the enemy. We will be facing the father of all lies. We will be facing an entity who utterly hates those who profess a faith in Jesus and in God the Father. In all of this, Jesus is our protector. He is our champion. He is our armor. He is THE full armor of God!

We are to fully clothe ourselves in Jesus, who is the Word made flesh!

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
(Ephesians 6:14-17 (NIV))

In light of the events that are transpiring in this world, we need to fully clothe ourselves with Jesus. We are to recognize and clothe ourselves with the armor that only He can provide. When we do this, we no longer fight the battles. The battle then belongs to the Lord!

With this truth, are you still fighting the battles based on your abilities or have you allowed the Lord to fight for you and to protect you? Are you trying to stand in your strength or are you standing in His strength?

It is time that you answered one very important question.

Are you appropriately dressed?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Take heart! For Jesus has overcome the world!

August 1, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
(2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV))

This evening, I came very close to losing heart!

I came into my office and went to turn on the computer that I use to write, store and update the devotionals, the images, my notes, my reference materials, and the main website and the backup blog site, AND . . .

It would not turn on!

NOTHING!

With all of the storms that have been moving through my area, apparently they took out the computer since Friday evening. My first reaction was exactly what you would expect from a typical human reaction when anyone encounters this type of situation. It made it through my surge protection and my battery backups. After taking a step back and asking the Lord the typical why me question, He reminded me that no one is exempt from the attacks of the enemy and that the attacks increase if you are trying to do what you are called to do for the kingdom. I then remembered my small external hard drive that I use for file access when I use a less powerful laptop with far less storage. I found myself praying that this portable hard drive wasn’t hit. Thankfully, it was spared and I am able to get this devotional written and sent today even though my database of devotionals and images are not up to date. God made me realize that I was relying on my skills with computers and not relying on Him. At present, I do not have access to the almost 2 TB of notes, images, and reference materials that God has shown to me over the years. I have an automatic backup in place, but I do not currently have a computer with enough capacity to get to these backup files, and that is IF the backup system was not taken out as well!

I pray that it wasn’t, BUT . . .

Even if it was, it is not the end of the world, or the end of this ministry. I do not rely on things made of man. I use them to do what I am called to do. The technology is the means of distribution. It is not the means of inspiration. Tonight I had a personal reminder of exactly what Jesus spoke of.

“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))

Since I started this path almost twenty-five years ago, many things have changed. What I was once able to do for free, the ministry now has to pay monthly fees, and these fees are not cheap. I want to take this opportunity to stop and thank those who have contributed over the years and to say that it is with your help that this ministry has been able to reach 128 countries on six continents. Today, I had someone ask me why I missed a day last week. I had to explain that I had power problems that only effected my office and my internet. I had to stop this evening and think back on that question with the realization that the power event had also been an attack of the enemy.

I realize that things happen in this world. I also realize that when these things do happen, we do not need to lose heart.

Take heart! For Jesus has overcome the world!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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His plans are out of this world!

July 22, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
(Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV))

Do you feel like you have hope and a future?

Your answer to that question is all a matter of perspective.

Do you look at your life in relation to how things are in the world around you or do you look at your life in relation to whose you are?

You can feel helpless, hopeless and lost if you focus on the things of this world, especially when the things of this world are progressing as they have been for the last few years. If your hope is based on worldly things, then you truly are helpless, hopeless and lost for the things of this world are rapidly turning evil and depraved. We can focus on the troubles that we are walking through, or we can focus on the promises that are at the end of those troubles and we can focus on the one who is with us even in the midst of those troubles. Even the disciples of Jesus knew that they would face troubles. They also knew that they had placed their faith in the one who has overcome the troubles of this world.

“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))

The words from Jeremiah were recorded when many had been carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. In essence, they were taken captive and taken to another country. Babylon was not a country you went to for a vacation. They took captives from all of the lands that they had defeated in war. They attacked the other countries in order to extend their kingdom! The words recorded within Jeremiah were a promise to those who were in the midst of very difficult times. They were a promise from the Lord that He still had plans for them. He still knew what the future held even though the people in captivity could see no possible reason to have any hope.

The Lord is still saying this today to those who call upon His name!

He has plans for us. He has given us a hope far greater than the promise of the hope that He gave to the exiles. They were looking for freedom in the physical world. We have been given freedom from the consequences of our sins. He has such amazing plans for those who call upon His name. We should know a peace that passes all understanding even in the midst of the chaos of this world. Our peace comes from the One who has overcome the world by defeating sin and death. Our true prosperity is coming as we are given an eternity in His presence.

His plans are out of this world!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you long for His light?

July 12, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:5 (NIV))

The world is a dark place. Sin and evil are the new normal, but only for a little while. We know the end of the story. We are just living in the times before the end comes. These are the times when evil increases just as we are told in the parable of the wheat and the tares. While we wait, we have a light that we can shine in our small corners of the world. If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have a light that will penetrate the darkness. Even the smallest flame from a candle chases the darkness away.

How is your flame?

I know that it is nothing in comparison to what the Lord will bring when He returns, but we are called to share His light for others to see. We are to use the light that is inside of us to allow others to see their way to Him. The more that we share that light, the more people we will have searching the skies for His return.

Do you search the skies for His return?

We have been given a promise just as the disciples were given a promise. He will return!

“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))

Do you long for His return?

Do you long to see His light?

Do you long to live in His light for all eternity?

His light will defeat the darkness. His light has already overcome sin and death. His light will return to finish everything just as was promised. When He returns, there will be no darkness.

Do you long for His light?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you facing persecution for your faith?

May 26, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
(John 15:20 (NIV))

Many people have taught that to follow Jesus means no troubles in this world and that you will be blessed with abundance in all that you do and in worldly possessions.

This teaching is not what Jesus spoke of!

Can we expect more than what was shown to Jesus when He walked the earth? To be truly like Jesus, we need to accept the fact that we will have troubles.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
(John 16:33b (NIV))

When a believer faces hardship or persecution, it should be a witness to others about our faith in Jesus Christ. We will face hardship and persecution, but how we face it is what makes us different from the world.

Will your actions during hardship convict you of being a disciple of Jesus?

Are you facing persecution for your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How is your attitude through all of the world’s troubles?

April 27, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
(James 1:2 (NIV))

I think that the enemy is testing our ability to find joy under trial. Perhaps I should rephrase that to say that I know that the enemy is testing our ability to find joy under trial. Personally, I do not see how anyone who does not profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior can make it through what we have been through and what I am certain that we will be going through in the not too distant future.

When we face trials of many kinds, we must have joy.

When we face worldly uncertainty, we must have joy.

When we face persecution, we must have joy.

In all circumstances, whether good or bad, as believers in Jesus, we must have joy, for He is our joy.

“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))

If we profess a faith in Jesus and we do not have joy, what does that say about our faith? What does that say about our relationship with Jesus? Jesus told us to rejoice and be glad! Jesus told us that if we follow Him, we would face persecution. Thankfully, we have His promises to stand firm in.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV))

How is your attitude through all of the world’s troubles?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Fix your eyes upon Jesus!

March 29, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.
(Habakkuk 3:19 (NIV))

Do you ever feel like the weight of the world is crashing in on you? If you are like most people, that has grown exponentially over the last few years. When this happens, and yes, it happens even to believers, what do you do? Do you have a favorite scripture passage that restores the peace and the calm? Do you go into your prayer closet? Do you listen to a favorite song? Do you pick up God’s Word and dive into the truths that it contains? Do you fully embrace that Jesus is still with you and is walking with you through all of your troubles?

“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))

Human history has been full of troubles. Many people who study prophecy believe that these troubles are now escalating and converging to the point where we can see the unfulfilled prophecies being fulfilled very rapidly. If this is true, then we must rely on the Lord as our strength, for it will be more than we can bear. If these events are still years down the road, we still must rely on the Lord as our strength, for the current state of the world is very troubling now and will only get worse.

Is the Lord your strength?

Do you find joy in knowing that He is in control? Do you find peace in knowing that there is absolutely nothing that happens in this world that He does not know about? In other words, He knows the end from the beginning! We have nothing to fear. We have no reason to be downcast and disturbed because He is our strength.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
      Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
      for I will yet praise him,
      my Savior and my God.
(Psalm 42:5 (NIV))

When you are feeling like the weight of the world is making you downcast, look up! Our Lord is our perfect strength. We must look to Him. I find hope and strength that one day when I look up, I will see Him coming for His bride, for those who call upon His name as Lord and Savior!

Fix your eyes upon Jesus!

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

March 23, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
(Ephesians 6:10 (NIV))

Do you consider yourself to be strong?

I realize that is a very vague question, especially when you consider that you can be physically strong, emotionally strong, spiritually strong, and financially strong, just to name a few. With that in mind, perhaps the better question is where do your strengths lie? Did you find yourself thinking that you are pretty good at this or that, only to be reminded that what you were thinking of is not something that you can do at full perfection, at full strength, every single moment of your life? Did this lead to a life altering conclusion in which you admitted to yourself that you are not as strong as you thought you were?

Keep in mind that it takes a strong person to admit that they are weak!

Have you truly considered that in order to be strong in the Lord, you have to admit that you are weak and in need of His strength? I honestly believe that this works the exact same way as when we admitted that we were a sinner in need of a Savior. We can’t do it on our own. Our strength is not sufficient! We must come to the conclusion that we must rely on a power that is far greater than we could ever be.

Our strength comes when we admit that we must fully rely on the Lord for everything that we do. Our strength comes when we admit that we truly are a sinner in need of a Savior. Our strength comes when we admit that we cannot face this world without Him.

“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))

Do you fully rely on the Lord to overcome this world?

What else do you fully rely on the Lord for?

Do you cling to the words that Paul wrote to the church at Corinth?

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV))

Are you strong in the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t ever forget it!

March 22, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
     whose confidence is in him.
(Jeremiah 17:7 (NIV))

Blessed?

Have you ever had a time, even though you trust in the Lord, where you feel that you are far from blessed?

Be honest with yourself. If you are human, then you have had many of those times. I know that I have.

It is human nature to feel rejected. It is human nature to dwell on the negative, and the negative times do happen to everyone. Jesus warned us about this.

“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))

I want you to think back on the times when you did not feel blessed. What happened that made you feel that way? In all circumstances, it was probably an attack from someone or something in this fallen, sinful world. Did you lose your trust in the Lord or did you lose your confidence in Him? After the initial heartbreak, and, yes, that is a normal reaction, chances are that you came to the realization that God is still with you, that Jesus is still with you.

But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33b (NIV))

These simple words should make us feel blessed even when we don’t feel blessed.

We are blessed because we have placed our faith and trust in the Lord. The enemy attacks us through things of this world. We begin to feel rejected. We begin to feel that we are not blessed. It is at these very moments in life when we must remember that Jesus came into this world, lived, died and was resurrected for moments like this. We can take heart, for He has overcome the world.

When we feel that we are not blessed is the time that we should remember the words from John 16:33. It is at these times that we have the biggest blessing. We have the reassurance that these moments will not defeat us. We have the promise that Jesus is still with us and that He is our salvation even when the world tries its best to destroy us.

Blessed?

You bet!

Don’t ever forget it!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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