It doesn’t matter what the world thinks!

October 6, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.
(Hebrews 10:33 (NIV))

Think about this passage for a moment.

Did you come to any conclusions or did you have any insights that you hadn’t had before?

Perhaps what caught my attention is related to the following passage.

“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 you truly stop to think about this, the world does not insult and persecute those who belong to it. If we are to face insult and persecution because of our faith, there is only one way that we, as members of the Body of Christ, should respond.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
(James 1:2-4 (NIV))

Are you truly prepared for what the world will probably be sending your way?

I realize that there isn’t a single person who looks forward to insults and persecution, but we must be prepared for whatever the world may send our way. We must stand firm so that we do not fall away when our faith is tested. We may face things individually, or we may face them together as members of the Body of Christ. No matter what the world may send our way, we must remember that the world is not our savior. With that in mind, there is only one thing left to say.

It doesn’t matter what the world thinks!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Don’t listen to the world. Trust in the Lord!

August 23, 2021

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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))

What do you listen to most of the time?

Do you listen to what the world tells you? Do you fall prey to the fearmongering that the world tries to sell us? Does the world have you so worried and troubled that you have no peace of mind? With all that is going on in the world right now, it is so easy to focus on the troubles in this world, but we must never forget the one who has overcome the world!

Don’t get me wrong. We need to be aware of what is going on in the world, but we don’t need to make it the center of our attention. We need to focus on Jesus. We have all done something where we change our visual depth of field by focusing on what is far away. When that happens, what is close is still there, it is just out of focus. If we focus on what is close, then what is far away becomes out of focus. We also have a spiritual depth of field. When we focus on the troubles, they become the primary thing we see and Jesus gets fuzzy and unclear. When we focus on Jesus, He becomes the clarity that we need and the troubles in this world, even though they are still there, become less of a focus. We can acknowledge them, but at the same time we can rest assured that everything is in His control!

When we focus on Jesus, we listen to His voice. We listen to His truth. When we focus on Jesus, we hear His reassurances that He has overcome the world. It is time to change our focus. It is time to change what we truly listen to! What do you find yourself listening to?

Don’t listen to the world. Trust in the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you believe in Jesus?

June 14, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God ; believe also in me.
(John 14:1 (NIV))

For anyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, it should be second nature to do what this passage states. We know and trust these words as well as other words that Jesus has spoken about troubles in 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 big question that should be evident from these passages is a simple question.

Do you believe in Jesus?

It is your answer that makes this difficult. It is the state of your heart that gives you away. Is your heart troubled by all of the events that have been transpiring and increasing in frequency in the world lately? What does that say about your faith if you look to the state of the world to determine your peace? These events should make you turn to the one who has overcome the world. They should make you lift your eyes in hopeful anticipation of seeing Jesus!

Exactly what do you believe about Jesus, for what you truly believe will dictate how your heart reacts? How confident are you of your salvation, for that confidence will determine the relationship that you have with Jesus?

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

How strong is your relationship with Jesus, for this relationship will determine your trust? In other words, do you trust Jesus to be who He is and to fulfill all that He has promised? If you fully trust Jesus to fulfill all of His promises, then why should you let your heart be troubled? Why should you not believe in the Lord?

Do you believe in Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What victory does your faith desire?

March 22, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
(1 John 5:4 (NIV))

What type of faith do you possess?

Do you look upon the Bible as God’s Word as it relates to what He has done in the past as an example of how you should live your life in the present?

If you answered yes to this question, you are correct, but is it possible that you have overlooked the fact that the Bible unfolds God’s plans for humanity from creation to the fall, from perfection to sin, from hopelessness to redemption, from crucifixion to resurrection, from ascension to return, from belief to redemption, and from rejection to glorious return? God’s Word is so much more than stories to set examples for your lives. If you read the Bible and come away with an understanding that it is only for improving your life in this world, you are missing out on God’s plans for redeeming the fallen and defeating the enemy once and for all. It is true that He sent Jesus as an atoning sacrifice to redeem us from the consequences of sin and death, but He has also unfolded a plan to restore perfection to His creation once and for all!

Are you aware that about twenty percent of the Bible is prophecy?

We read the prophecies that point to Jesus and we often ask ourselves how those people could have been so blind to what was unfolding? How could they have not recognized that Jesus was the Messiah whom they longed for? We see in hindsight that Jesus fulfilled every single prophecy about His first coming. We can look back on that and feel that we have proof that it happened, yet, we fail to see the prophecies that God is unfolding right before our eyes! We have been told what to look for in the time of the end, but how many believers are paying attention to the events in this world? Are we becoming just like the generation that was told what to look for when Jesus came? Are we guilty of being just as blind to what God is unfolding today?

Do you possess a faith to look beyond your personal life and realize that God is still unfolding things according to His purpose right before your eyes?

As believers, we look to Jesus as a guarantee of salvation from an eternity in hell. But, do you look to Jesus as the King of kings and Lord of lords who is doing the will of the Father? Do you have the faith to realize that God’s plans are unfolding and rejoice as things unfold in anticipation of the final outcome? Do you long to be in His presence or do you long to return to the worldly normal?

What victory does your faith desire?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you filled with confidence and assurance?

November 12, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

With everything that is going on in the world, we see countless things that go against everything that we hope for. We see so much that goes against what God calls righteous and good. It has come to a point that many may begin to wonder if they have misplaced their faith. It is so easy to become blinded to the truth if all that we focus on are the lies of the world!

I have found myself focusing on faith quite often lately. The topic comes to mind every time that I see more news about the current state of our nation and the world. I have to remind myself that even though God created this world, it has been turned over to sin and depravity. We may find fleeting glimpses of beauty, but the true beauty has long faded and deteriorated from what God first created. It is at these moments that I remind myself of the truth that we may live in this world but we are not of this world. We must never lose sight of this truth. We must forever keep our eyes fixed on Jesus!

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
(1 John 2:15-16 (NIV))

What we are seeing is a direct result of the love of the world. Stand firm, for we are not of this world. Life is a gift. That gift was tarnished and corrupted. We may see hardships. We may even experience hardships, but we must remember that this physical world is not what is important. No matter what we may face in this world, what matters is that we keep our eyes focused on Jesus, for where we focus is where we get our strength.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
(2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (NIV))

If we can stay focused on Jesus, then we can inherit His authority over the 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))

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
(1 John 5:5 (NIV))

Are you filled with confidence and assurance?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Lord, help me to overcome my unbelief!

September 16, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
    “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
    ” `If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
    Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
(Mark 9:21-24 (NIV))

“Help me overcome my unbelief!”

We are promised eternal life, yet we do not believe.

We read about the miracles that He performed when He walked this earth, yet we do not believe.

We face situations in our lives where we don’t know where we got the strength to make it through, yet we do not believe.

What is it that makes us cross that line from lip service to true belief?

This man found it when he had lost all hope for saving his son from the demon possession. He had no place to turn but to Jesus. He turned to Jesus out of despair, but found a desire to overcome his unbelief.

Each of us come to Jesus in a slightly different manner, yet we all must come to this point in our relationship with Him. It is at this point where we look inward and realize that what we are is not what we want to be. We look at Jesus and realize that true belief in Him is our only way to salvation.

Jesus took this father’s request to help him overcome his unbelief and then granted him the single thing that brought him to Jesus. He cast out the demon from his son. Jesus made whole what the enemy had tried to steal. He took the faith that the father found and did just as is promised Matthew 17:20 – “He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.

Nothing will be impossible with faith.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
(Hebrews 11:1 (NIV))

Faith requires belief.

Lord, help me to overcome my unbelief!

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

September 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
(Romans 8:6-7 (NIV))

In case you were thinking this, no, it is not possible to be governed by both!

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
(Matthew 6:24 (NIV))

Before I am accused of mixing scripture passages and meanings, it is important to understand that the love of money serves the flesh. It is the ultimate worldly and fleshly control on the human mind. It is the embodiment of lust, power and ego. When your mind is governed by the things of this physical world, it seeks carnal satisfaction. It seeks sin!

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 (NIV))

We must strive to overcome human nature and focus on Jesus. We must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. When we falter, and we will, we must recognize our failures, repent and return to the Lord. We must desire to possess true peace as only it can be found in the Lord.

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

We have all seen what happens in this world when government is bad. People suffer. We have also seen what happens in this world when government tries to do what is righteous in the eyes of God. We have our own personal election each and every moment of every day. We can choose to be governed by the flesh and suffer the consequences, or we can choose to be governed by the Spirit and find peace.

How is your mind governed?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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There is no fear for those who trust in Jesus!

August 19, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I originally shared the following back in October, 2012. Since then, I think that you will agree with me that things have escalated and we need to keep our eyes focused on Jesus!

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
(2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NIV))

I want you to read those words again.

I had to stop and read them again, and I was surprised at how much that I have taken these words for granted. These words jolted me back to reality.

I want you to be honest with yourself. Have the events of the world started to have an impact on your faith? Do you look upon what is going on and think that there is no way out of the problems that we see? Have you begun to feel the pressure? Have you felt despair and abandonment? Have you come close to having your faith destroyed by the events in this world?

It is so easy to feel all of these if you take your eyes off of 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))

Jesus gives us relief when we are pressed. He gives us hope when we are perplexed. He gives us someplace to take refuge when we are persecuted. He will not allow the enemy to destroy us.

If Jesus does all of this for us, then why do we still find ourselves fearful of what the world, and the enemy, throws at us?

Perhaps it is due to worldly examples that we have had with respect to trust. I know that it is difficult to trust if you have had that trust broken in the past. It is difficult to comprehend the unfailing love of Jesus if your experience with love has been bad. It is difficult to understand that Jesus will not abandon you if you have had people walk out on you in the past.

Sadly enough, far too many people find themselves in one, if not all, of these types of situations. Life can throw things at us that are difficult to comprehend and as a result, many project their worldly experiences and expectations upon Jesus. Let’s face reality. We are all human and are all sinners. Even those of us who have been fortunate to be around people whom they can trust, things happen. I suppose that many people unknowingly live by the motto, “Trust but verify.”

Jesus is not like that. He will never let you down. He will never abandon you. He is the Good Shepherd.

“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.
(John 3:16-17 (NIV))

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
(1 John 4:18 (NIV))

There is no fear for those who trust in Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Where do you find your heart?

August 14, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

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

With everything that is going on in the world right now, I have a question for you that will help determine your true treasure.

Do you long for the way things were last year this time, or do you long for Jesus?

Take a look back at this same time last year. I will admit that things were not as stressful and unusual then as they are now. Still, they were far from perfect. In fact, if you look back over the last several years, you will see that things have not gotten any better. The political landscape has changed in the last few years, and is focused on following Biblical principles, but it is also evident that the opposition to this change is doing all in its power to bring down anything related to God’s Word as well as anyone who supports it.

It is possible to become so overwhelmed by the ever increasing troubles in this world that we fail to see that God is moving in and through all of the troubles. Is your heart burdened and fearful? If you think about this in relationship to where your heart is, then it is easy to come to the conclusion that it is possible for us to treasure the pain of this world. Have we become addicted to the point that we sit waiting for the next new information on the latest troubles in this world?

Where’s the peace when we worry? Where’s the faith when we worry? Where is our treasure when we worry?

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
(Matthew 6:34 (NIV))

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

“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 have a favor to ask of everyone. It’s really quite simple. The next time that your heart becomes heavy because of the world, lift your eyes to heaven and remember that God is still on the throne. He is still in charge. Look to your eternal treasure and stay focused on Jesus!

Where do you find your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you long to do as He says?

August 3, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
(James 1:22 (NIV))

Does that passage hit you in the same way that it hits me?

Far too many times it convicts me, for I know that no matter how hard I try, there will be times that I fail. I listen to the word. I long to do what it says. And still I fail.

Failure is not deliberate. Failure is not my goal. Failure is a setback and an obstacle to overcome.

God’s word is alive. It is the truth and it is how we should live our lives. It is a choice and it is one that I take very seriously. I desire to live my life the way that God desires me to live. Yet, I find myself in the same predicament as Paul when he wrote to the Romans.

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
(Romans 7:14-20 (NIV))

We all have times when we do what we know we shouldn’t. It is our recognition of these times that helps us to mature in our faith. If we desire to do what God’s word says, then we will hate our failures. We will long to be obedient. If we only listen and do not have a desire to do, then we do not hold God’s word in our heart. We do not long to be what God calls us to be.

We can listen to God’s word in the same way that we listen to the radio. When you turn off the radio, do you honestly remember the songs that you heard? Or, we can listen to God’s word in the way that you listen to things that are close to your heart. It is a matter of priorities.

When you listen to God, do you long to do as He says?

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