Do you desire true rest?

January 6, 2022

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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.
(Matthew 11:28 (NIV))

If you have lived any length of time at all in this world, you know very well how it can drag you down. It will make you so weary at times that you do all that you can do to simply drag yourself out of bed. Just the thought of another day like all of the others makes you want to scream. The enemy does his job all too well when it comes to making you feel like you are carrying the weight of the world upon your shoulders.

It doesn’t have to be like that!

And, yes, people who profess a faith in Jesus still have days like this. We still live in this world, but we have a hope for a future beyond the realm of this physical world. We have placed our faith and trust in Jesus, and as a result, we can rest assured that His promises are true. He desires to ease our burdens.

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 11:29-30 (NIV))

The biggest burden that Jesus has lifted is the consequences for our sins. If we profess a faith in Jesus, we are no longer bound by the law of sin and death. He has saved us from eternal separation from God by taking our punishment upon Himself. He has removed our burdens. He has provided a way to escape the troubles of this world. He has given us peace.

“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 desire true rest?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Happy New Year to those who desire to overcome!

December 31, 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))

Are you at peace with what is going on in the world?

What does your answer tell you about your relationship with Jesus?

I realize that we are only human and we live in the physical world, but if we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, then we do not truly live here. This world is not our home. We are only passing through. Our true home is an eternity spent with Jesus!

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
(John 14:2-3 (NIV))

Let me present a question for your consideration.

If you were on a journey to get home and you saw terrible thing along the way, would you forget that you were going home and focus on the troubles along the way?

Sadly, that is what too many people who profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior end up doing. We focus on the troubles in this world and lose our focus on Jesus. It is true that we do have to live in this world, but we must remember that what we see unfolding is all part of God’s plan. As such, we must keep our eyes focused on Jesus, for when we focus on Jesus all the troubles of this world seem to fade away.

As we face the upcoming new year, it is my prayer that each of us can keep our focus where it should be.

Happy New Year to those who desire to overcome!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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And His name is Jesus!

December 13, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For to us a child is born,
     to us a son is given,
     and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
     Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
     Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
(Isaiah 9:6 (NIV))

What do you think of when you think of a child being born?

What do you think of when a son comes into a family?

There was a time in history, and it is still this way in many cultures, where a child, especially a son, meant a new beginning. It meant an inheritance. It meant that authority would soon be passed from the father to the son. It was a right of passage and a transition from the old to the new. The son was to be groomed to assume all authority at an appointed time.

We have been given a Son and His name is Jesus!

He came as a child, but He was not like any other child. He was God with us. He grew into a man and taught the truth about God’s Law. Law comes from the authority of the government and His authority was final. He did away with the man-made rituals and interpretations that had corrupted God’s Law. He taught that it was more important to fulfill the intent of the Law and not the letter of the Law.

He turned the religious authority upside down. He turned the world upside down.

Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
(Matthew 20:26-28 (NIV))

Does it go against your limited human understanding to comprehend, to accept the fact that God stepped out of heaven into the world that He created to save the world that He created? The God of all creation did not come into the world to be served, to be worshipped, but to serve by showing us how He intended for us to live! He stepped down from His eternal throne surrounded by angels into a manger in a stable! If that doesn’t blow your mind, then nothing will. He loves us that much!

We all love when a child comes into a family. How much more should we love that the child has come to redeem us to Himself?

And His name is Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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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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Have you been blessed?

August 31, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
(Numbers 6:24-26 (ESV))

Do you feel blessed?

I realize that this is a loaded question, and if you are like all of the rest of humanity, there are definitely times when you just don’t feel that you are blessed. Think about that for a moment in relation to the ultimate gift, to the ultimate blessing that you have been freely given through the atoning blood of Jesus, and then think about just how truly you have been blessed by the Lord. If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you have already been blessed with salvation. You have been blessed with grace and mercy. You have been blessed with the redeeming love of God.

This blessing keeps you from the consequences of your sins and keeps you in the protective arms of the Lord.

This blessing allows you to enter into the throne of God and seek His grace and mercy.

This blessing allows you to approach the throne without fear of retribution.

This blessing gives you a peace because you know that you are a beloved child of God.

This was such an unusual concept. A king had complete authority. If you were in the presence of the king, it meant bad things would result. He was the ultimate authority and controlled life and death. If he didn’t like you, the results were not good. If he liked you and lifted his face to you, it meant life. These words from these passages were used to describe the best possible encounter with the one who was in ultimate authority. Not only did this type of encounter make your day, it possibly even saved you from a harsh punishment.

Does that sound familiar?

As believers, as members of the Body of Christ, we can rest assured of our Lord’s blessing because of all of the things that He has done for us. He has kept us from eternal separation from the Father. He has looked upon us with grace and mercy. He looks upon us with love, and He has given us a peace that passes all understanding!

Have you been blessed?

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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Instead of looking inward, we must look up!

August 19, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
(Proverbs 3:5 (NIV))

Recent events should have me flabbergasted and extremely worried, To be honest with you, there was a time in my life when I would have been beyond worried as I witness and experience the ever increasing uncertainty and evil in this world.

But, now!

But, God!

With all of the events transpiring in the world, I am at peace!

With the never-ending saga of the pandemic, I am at peace!

When the state of the nation and the world seems to be rapidly declining, I am at peace!

When things are on uncertain ground with finances, jobs, health, and whatever else may arise, I am at peace!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
‭‭(Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭(NIV‬‬))

Do you worry? Do you find yourself in situations where you just can’t see any resolution? As prideful humans, we look inward to find solutions. We think that we can fix anything. We think that we are the masters of our own domains and our own destinies. As a result, we worry. We panic. We lash out at those we love, and nothing gets fixed. Nothing we can do will reduce our worry and give us peace. There is an answer! There is a source for true peace. We just need to look in the correct place.

Instead of looking inward, we must look up!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Hope, joy and peace come from trusting the Lord!

July 22, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 15:13 (NIV))

With the current state of the world, we need hope. We need joy, and we need peace!

Can you imagine how people who don’t profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior are coping with what we have been facing? Even members of the Body of Christ can sometimes begin to feel the weight of the world crashing down on us, and we have the hope we have been given through Jesus to cling to! Can you imagine the weight that others are feeling when they have no hope to cling to?

We are all familiar with the often used saying that when things are looking down, look up. To be honest with you, I see more and more people boldly proclaiming their faith through social media than I have ever seen. It may just be the algorithms that are used, but it appears that over fifty percent of what I see is people sharing faith based content. I take this as an indication that people are spending more time in God’s Word and are clinging to the truth that it contains. People are looking up! Or, should I say that they are looking down into the pages of their Bibles? Can we take this as a sign that people are lifting their hearts and their hands to heaven? Can we take this as a sign the people are lifting up prayers to the Lord?

For those of us who cling to the promises that are “yes” in Jesus, we have hope. We have joy, and we have peace. We also have an assignment!

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))

And, the harvest fields are ripe to hear the Gospel!

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
(Isaiah 6:8 (NIV))

There has never been a better time to share the Gospel of Jesus. The time may be short and for those who don’t trust in the Lord, we may be the only people who will share. We must tell them the truth!

Hope, joy and peace come from trusting the Lord!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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From the inside out!

July 12, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NIV))

I had something pointed out to me today that should have been obvious, or it should have been obvious if I had simply been paying attention!

If you slow down and read this passage you will see that this passage gives us God’s order of importance with respect to our lives. In essence, it explains, in more detail, the concept that outward appearances are not what make a person righteous, and because of this, God looks at the heart. The heart reflects the spirit and the desires of the heart determine a person’s life. You will seek out what your heart desires.

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

Our words reflect what is in our heart.

What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.
(Matthew 15:11 (NIV))

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.
(Matthew 15:18-19 (NIV))

God looks at the secrets within. He knows that in order to be righteous and blameless, it has to start from within us. It has to start with a desire to turn from our sin and profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. Too many people go through the outward motions without ever having a change within. Their secret life is as sinful as ever, but the facade that they present to the world is one that appears to be blameless. Jesus let these people know of their sin, for they were acting righteous when what was inside was wicked.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
(Matthew 23:27-28 (NIV))

Would Jesus call you a hypocrite? Do you desire to change? Repent and ask God to change your heart and He will change you…

From the inside out!

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you accepted His peace?

May 14, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
(John 14:27 (NIV))

There is so much packed into these three short sentences!

Jesus starts off by telling us that He gives us peace, but we know that the peace that He gives is so much more than the fleeting glimpses that the world shows us.

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

What has the world given you?

You may start to say life and love, but where did those truly come from?

The things that this sinful, fallen world gives us are not what God gives us. Pain and heartache come to mind as just two examples of the not so wonderful gifts the world gives us. Sickness and death come to mind, as well as bitterness and anxiety. In essence, the things that the world bestows upon us are not the gifts that we want.

With that in mind, what has the world actually given to you?

Is it anything that you desire to keep?

What has Jesus given to you? What has God given to each of us in our sinful, fallen nature?

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:8‬ (‭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. 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))

Lastly, Jesus tells us to not be fearful and troubled.

“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))

We can stand firmly on the promises of these three sentences, but it comes with a price. We must profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior! We must repent and follow Jesus! Only then will we have the peace that only He can give.

Have you accepted His peace?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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