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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Do you find joy in your trials?

April 14, 2021

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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))

What is your state of mind considering the present state of the world?

I ask this because all of us have been facing trials that we never thought would happen and we honestly don’t know if and when they will end. With this in mind, are you filled with joy? Do you have a peace in your life that others just don’t seem to understand? If this is true, then it is time to share the reason behind your joy and your peace so that others may come to know the same truths.

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

No one knows what tomorrow may bring. This very moment might be the last opportunity that someone you know has to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. You need to tell them about Jesus! If you believe that the events foretold of in Daniel and Revelation are unfolding, then we should have a sense of urgency in sharing the hope and joy of our salvation with those who need to know Jesus before the time comes when it is too late.

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 know that there will be trouble in this world. Sometimes the trouble is of a personal nature. Sometimes the trouble is of a catastrophic nature. No matter what trouble you face, we know that our redeemer lives! If you truly stop to think about the trials and troubles that this world sends our way, we should have such a joy and a peace just from the knowledge that the One in whom we trust has overcome the world and will see us through whatever we are going through.

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
(Philippians 1:21 (NIV))

We have been given a promise that Jesus is with us always in this world no matter what we may face. We are also given a promise that He is preparing a place for us. Based on these promises, why would anyone who professes a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior ever feel anything less than joy since the promises of hope are true?

Do you find joy in your trials?

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

April 12, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.
(Proverbs 29:25 (NIV))

Do you fear the events of the world?

Think carefully about that question before you answer, for the events of the world are all caused by man. God foretold of them, but what is playing out is the direct result of our sinful, fallen nature. Wars and rumors of wars are all caused by human nature. Calling evil good and good evil is a direct result of our rebellious, sinful nature. I could go on, but everything since Satan deceived Adam and Eve has been a direct result of our sinful, fallen nature.

Back to the events of the world. Do you fear COVID? Do you fear the vaccine? Do you fear lawlessness and hatred? Do you fear evil? Do you fear war? Is your fear increasing as these things and many more increase in the world? What does that say about where you are focusing your attention and your trust?

If you focus on the world, we lose hope. All that we see and will see is the ever-increasing sin and rebellion of humanity. We must focus our minds, our hearts and our spirits on the one thing that will allow us to overcome the world.

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

When we look at the world, we know fear. When we look to Jesus, we know peace. Where do you look? What do you desire to know? Where do you desire to place your trust?

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 an overcomer?

Do you trust in the Lord?

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

April 7, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

“There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”
(Isaiah 57:21 (NIV))

Contrary to what the world will try to make you think, sin is sin, evil is evil, and wickedness is real. It has been part of the human condition ever since the fall from grace in the Garden of Eden. We traded God’s perfection for a lie and ever since that day, all of humanity has missed the mark that God had established for His creation. We missed the mark as stewards. We missed the mark in our trust of God. We missed the mark in choosing righteousness over evil. We missed the mark completely.

We sinned!

Sadly, we continue to sin.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
(Isaiah 64:6 (NIV))

Every single one of us are lost in a problem of our own making. It is also a problem that we cannot fix on our own. We cannot overcome sin and achieve the righteousness that God desires on our own merits. It is impossible for a filthy rag to pick itself up, clean itself and make itself presentable to the one who made it. It requires a loving Creator to pick us up out of the filth and wash us clean. It requires a loving Creator to share His righteousness so that the rags can become clean.

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
(Romans 3:22-24 (NIV))

I know that you have seen the following words many times, but to be honest with you, there is so much truth that is contained within these eight words.

No Jesus. No peace.
Know Jesus. Know peace!

The world will not give you peace. The world is in a sinful, fallen state. Everything that is in the world has been corrupted and will be used by the enemy to attack. If you are under attack, you are not at peace.

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

Only by accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior will you know true peace.

Do you know peace?

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