How are you at treating each other with love?

January 20, 2023

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
(Matthew 7:12 (NIV))

Do you like it when others mistreat you?

I realize that this question is one that appears to have an obvious answer, still we often treat others in ways that we would never want to be treated ourselves. I believe that this is rooted in the fall from grace. Humanity was lied to and told that we could be like God, so now we apply the power without the compassion. We apply the authority without the understanding, and we provide the condemnation without the love. Human nature wants to do exactly the opposite of what God calls us to do. We have a tendency to place ourselves above everyone else, and because of this, we mistreat each other because we think that we are better than they are.

Wrong attitude!

We are no better than anyone else.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Romans 3:23 (NIV))

No matter what you may think of yourself, God sees the real you. He knows all of your sinful past, yet He loves you anyway. When He looks at humanity, He sees a sea of sinful, fallen people who all need a savior. He does not see certain people as better than others. He doesn’t treat anyone differently. What He does do is provide an opportunity of redemption to all who will simply profess a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Once this happens, He sees you as a redeemed child, but that redemption is nothing that should make us feel superior to anyone else. All that it means is in the sea of sinful, drowning people, we have gotten on the life boat. We should be reaching out to others offering to help them receive what we have received. We must show them the same compassion, understanding and love that we were shown as we found our salvation.

I want to challenge you to look at your actions during the next twenty-four hours. Pray to have your eyes opened to the instances where you treat others in a way that you would not want to be treated. Pray to be able to show God’s love in those situations instead of your shortcomings. I want you to also pray for those who mistreat you, for they may not realize what they do. It is said that it is hard to hate someone when you are praying for them. I think that we can also safely say that it is hard to mistreat someone when you are praying for them.

How are you at treating each other with love?

Copyright 1998 – 2023 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you praying for those who share the Gospel?

December 5, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,
(Ephesians 6:19 (NIV))

Did you realize that Paul coveted the prayers from those whom he had ministered and taught so that he could reach others for Jesus?

Think about the implications of that concept. Paul, even though we consider him to be the man who took the Gospel to the Gentiles, realized that he is not capable of anything in his own strength. He wanted, or should I say that he needed constant under girding through the prayers of others for his ministry. He specifically asked them to pray that he be given the words that will fearlessly make the Gospel known. He realized that he is nothing without the power and guidance of the Lord. He realized that his words were useless, but the words spoken by the Holy Spirit through him were powerful beyond anything that any human could comprehend.

Take a look at the times in your life when you felt inadequate, when you felt at a loss for what to say. If you are like me, you simply stop and pray to be given the right words to reach the people who need to hear them. That is probably what Paul did as well, but he took it up a notch and asked for others to pray the same thing for him. Paul realized the power of prayer and he earnestly asked for the prayers of others.

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
(James 5:16b (NIV))

We don’t hesitate to seek the prayers of others when we need God to intervene in our own lives. Let’s use this same approach and join in praying that we can fearlessly make the Gospel known. We must pray for ourselves and others to be given the words that will lead others to the saving knowledge of Jesus. If Paul, whom we consider to be a man who opened the Gospel to the world beyond Israel, earnestly asked for prayer to be able to fulfill his calling, then why should we think that we don’t need to do the same thing? Have we had Jesus appear to us in such a way that our whole life was changed? Are we stronger in our faith than Paul? Have we walked from country to country preaching and teaching the good news of Jesus? Are we as committed as Paul?

I know that I am nothing in God’s plans. He could easily raise up someone else to reach those whom He has called me to reach. My prayer for myself is that He continue to give me the words to share that will draw people closer to Jesus. In fact, like Paul, I covet your prayers for this. I ask for your prayers as I continually seek His wisdom each day. I also pray that you will open your heart to being prayed for. Every day that I sit down to do this, I pray for the Lord to give me the words that He would have me to say to reach whom He needs me to reach. In praying this, I also pray for the unknown-to-me individuals whom God has directed to what He has had me send.

I do not take these devotionals lightly. For the last twenty-five years, I have made it a point to not put my name front and center, for these are not about me. I take the following passage very seriously.

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
(James 3:1 (NIV))

With that in mind, I ask for each of you to pray for those who share God’s word, whether in full time ministry or in daily living. Pray that we seek His truth before we write or speak. Pray that we choose to use the words that God has given us. Pray that we stand firm in the seriousness of what we do.

Are you praying for those who share the Gospel?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you humble yourself and bow to the Lord?

December 2, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
(Psalms 138:2 (NIV))

Awe and reverence!

Two characteristics that clearly manifest themselves in people who truly understand God’s power, majesty, grace, mercy and love. How can anyone who truly understands these godly traits do anything except bow down and praise God for what He has done?

No one else is capable of doing what God has done. Only God could have offered us grace and mercy that is eternal. Only God could have sent His Son to be an atoning sacrifice for our iniquities.

We did not ask Him to do it. He volunteered to do it because of His great love for us! How can we do any less that bow down and praise Him for what He has done, after all, He did not have to do any of it, for He is God. No one forces Him to do anything. No one can ever say that God has done something that goes against His very nature. If God cannot do anything that goes against His nature and He sent us Jesus to be our atoning sacrifice for our sins, then we have a Creator who truly loves us in spite of ourselves.

Have you bowed down in reverence and respect before God lately? Have you praised God for all that He has done for you? Have you actually thought about the grace and mercy that was freely given to you at the cost of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ?

Do you humble yourself and bow to the Lord?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What are you prepared for?

October 20, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
(Ephesians 6:1 (NIV))

How good are you at facing the things of this world on your own strength?

I can almost hear your thoughts on this. Everyone likes to put on a false front and tell the world that they have everything covered, while inside they are falling apart.

Are you like most people and tell everyone that you have everything covered? Do you tell yourself that as well? Do you honestly believe the lies that you tell yourself? What happens at the first sign of trouble?

I realize that I am asking a lot of questions, but in all honesty, what good is reading God’s Word if you don’t feel uncomfortable. It is intended to make you reflect, to make you stop and take a good, long, hard look at your life in relation to the passage in question.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
(Hebrews 4:12 (NIV))

With that in mind, are you tired of trying to face things on your own strength? You don’t need to do this. You don’t need to rely on what you can do. You don’t need to lie to the world and to yourself. You don’t need to sacrifice your joy for a false facade. You don’t need to listen to the lies of the enemy. Turn your eyes toward Jesus!

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 (NIV))

Just how do you have life to the full? How do you rely on the strength of the Lord? How do you rely on His mighty power?

I am sure that you have thought of these questions yourself, but there is something else that came to my mind. The following words are often seen on bumper stickers, on social media, and many other places, but they hold true.

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

To be strong in the Lord means that you truly know Him. It means that you cling to His every word and to His every promise. It means that you know Jesus so well that you know without a doubt that all of His promises are Yes and Amen! You may recognize that Ephesians 6:1 is the beginning of the passages where we are told to put on the full armor of God. We are to surround ourselves with His Word. We are to understand that His Word is power. We are to understand that His Word is our protection against the enemy. We are to understand that His Word will defeat the enemy. We are to know His Word and His truth so well that we are prepared for anything that the enemy may try to send our way!

What are you prepared for?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you ashamed to tell others about Jesus?

July 18, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
(Romans 1:16 (NIV))

If Paul, who was originally persecuting followers of Jesus, can truthfully claim that he is not ashamed of the gospel, why do so many people today claim that they can’t tell anyone about Jesus?

Think about that question in relation to this passage from Matthew.

“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
(Matthew 10:32-33 (NIV))

If we aren’t willing to tell others about Jesus, what does that sound like to you? Is there a difference between not sharing Jesus and disowning Jesus? How does this relate to what we have been given as our instructions as followers of Jesus?

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.
(Matthew 28:19-20a (NIV))

Is not sharing the gospel with others the same as denying Jesus? If we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves, then how can we justify not sharing the grace and mercy and love that Jesus offers with those who are our neighbors? It seems to me that this is denying Jesus before men!

Are you ashamed to tell others about Jesus?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Is God’s grace sufficient for you?

May 25, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
(2 Corinthians 12:9a (NIV))

Is His grace sufficient for you?

I don’t know anyone who actually likes to admit that they are weak. It goes against everything in our human nature, but that is exactly what we are called to do. In our sinful, fallen nature, we like to elevate ourselves. We like to make it look like we have it all under control. We like to think that we are the captains of our own destiny and that we are in complete control of everything.

In other words, we like to toot our own horn!

Paul had a different opinion.

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
(2 Corinthians 12:9b (NIV))

Based on Paul’s status in Jewish society, he probably had tooted his own horn many times. He was a Pharisee and was well on his way to high position, prestige and authority, but his Damascus Road experience changed all of that. He realized that his understanding was wrong. He realized that his studies had taken him down the wrong path. He realized that it wasn’t about his strength, but that it was about the strength of the one who was in him.

Paul realized that he needed to submit to the authority that was far greater than he. He realized that he needed to humble himself. He realized that he needed to become weak in the eyes of the world so that the Lord could become his strength.

Is God’s grace sufficient for you?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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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.
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Now is the time to run to Jesus!

March 15, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
(Acts 4:12 (NIV))

No other name but Jesus!

Do you know anyone who has tried to replace Jesus with someone else? Perhaps I should ask with something else, after all, many of the things that humanity looks to as having the power to protect and to save them are not people, but things. Money and power are just a few of these things that come to mind.

So, what’s in a name?

You’ve heard the old saying that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but it still possesses all of the qualities of a rose at the end of the day. Its very essence is and will always be that of a rose. In essence, what I am getting at is that we only have one person in all of human history who has the power to save. At the end of the day, His name will still be Jesus. His power and authority will still be that of the only begotten Son of God. Each language has a different way of saying His name, but each name references the very same Lord and Savior. There is no other. He is just as sweet!

Sadly, too many people look to anyone and anything else to save them. For them, the results will be the same as for those who rejected Him when He walked the earth.

Jesus is

“‘the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the cornerstone.’
(Acts 4:11 (NIV))

Now is the time to turn to Jesus. Do not reject the salvation that is found in no one else. No one knows what tomorrow may bring. In fact, it is possible that either you or I will not live to see tomorrow. Do you know where you will be if that were to happen? Does that thought haunt you? Do you want to do something now to guarantee a different eternal outcome? It is as easy as ABC.

A is for admit that you are a sinner in need of a savior.

B is for believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead.

C is for call upon the name of the Lord Jesus as your Lord and Savior!

Now is the time to run to Jesus!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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We must remember what God has given us!

March 1, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
(2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV))

I realize that I have referenced this passage at least once a year for the last few years. Can you blame me?

Every time that we turn around, something new has shown up on the world stage that appears to have the potential to be worse than the previous things that we thought were of great concern. If you have not professed a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, all of the events that seem to be escalating in intensity and frequency probably have you very concerned if not completely scared. If your only perspective is this world and the current state of this world, then it would scare most people to death. Sadly, I have seen recent statistics that point this out. It appears that death rates have risen significantly over the last two years with the majority of this increase coming from what we have labeled as the millennials. They see no hope for the future and are taking measures into their own hands. The majority of this generation was not raised to trust in God or even to believe that He exists, so when things get tough, they have no firm foundation on which to place their trust. They fear the future and see no way for anything good to come out of it.

I could fill up page after page of events detailing the ramifications of these events and what could be coming next. If you study Biblical prophesy, then Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation possibly come to mind as the events unfold right before us. I do not profess to know more than the people who recorded these books, but I do know that we are living in interesting times. On any given day, it is possible to see God’s timeline unfolding just from the news that we see.

Thankfully, we know the outcome. We know God’s plans. We may not know the exact details, but He has given us enough to recognize His Hand at work. He has told us beforehand what will transpire so that we can overcome, so that we can have 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))

Most people face the world in fear, but if you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you have nothing to fear. We can rely on His power and His love to see us through whatever the enemy sends our way as he faces his last days before Jesus returns. That should truly give us a sound mind, for we can rest assured that we are in Christ and that He is in us!

We must remember what God has given us!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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There truly is great power in His name!

February 3, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.
(Mark 13:26 (NIV))

I just watched a live sermon from a tent meeting. The focus of the sermon was on the power and authority that Jesus possessed and that He still possesses. Sadly, today’s church focuses on Jesus as love and they ignore the power. How do you think that Jesus was able to cast out demons? How do you think that Jesus was able to heal the sick? How do you think that Jesus was able to raise the dead?

After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out;
(Luke 8:1-2 (NIV))

Mary Magdalene followed Jesus because He had saved her from seven demons. She followed Him because she was grateful. She followed Him because she had been forgiven much through His actions!

Jesus exhibited great power and authority with His miracles, but I think it is safe to say that when you think of any of the healing miracles, you fail to recognize the fact that demons, in many cases, were cast out first and then the healings took place. Why do we only focus on the fact that Jesus has power and authority over the physical world and completely ignore the fact that He also has power and authority over the spiritual world? Why do we ignore the fact that the two worlds are closely linked and that He is Lord over all?

I did a search for the word “power” and I was surprised to find that in the NIV, some variation of the word was found 335 times. I realize that not every occurrence refers to the power of the Lord, but most instances do. What saddens me is the fact that we have sugarcoated these instances, or we have completely ignored them.

What do you think of when you think of the power of the Lord?

How do you think that this power will manifest itself when He returns?

How can this power manifest itself now?

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
(John 14:12 (NIV))

Did this passage come to mind? It should! If we profess a faith in Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we have the power to take on the enemy. We have the power to conduct spiritual warfare. We have the power to call upon the name of Jesus to drive out the enemy!

There truly is great power in His name!

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