Don’t you think it’s time to accept this amazing gift of grace?

October 31, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV))

Do you like gifts?

I realize that I just asked a rhetorical question. Human nature seeks things that are self gratifying, so I can honestly say that I have never met anyone who hates gifts. In fact, most people love to receive gifts. Since this is part of our nature, why do so many people fail to receive the greatest gift of all?

It simply doesn’t make sense!

Thankfully, there are people who have received this amazing gift of grace and are doing all that they can to share the knowledge of this gift to all who will hear, no matter where it may lead them. As I write this, I am tracking a flight that is going half way around the world so that a group of nine men, including my youngest son, can share the Gospel with an unreached tribe in a mountainous region of a country that I don’t want to currently name. They feel called to go and share the good news in a place that is so far outside of the comfort zones of most people in this country. They are flying for two days, and then hiking for three days just to reach this group of people. They know that this gift is so great that it must be shared!

And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
(Romans 10:15 (NIV))

Do you feel that you are being sent to share this amazing gift of grace?

Let me ask another question. Have you even claimed this gift for yourself?

In most of the westernized world, there are churches everywhere. There are preachers and teachers sharing the good news. You can find Bibles in almost every hotel room and in almost every major retail store. You can turn on the television or go to a video website and watch people sharing the Gospel. You can turn on the radio and hear people proclaiming the good news, yet, so many people still turn a blind eye to the truth that can set them free from the power of sin and death. If you are one of these people, don’t wait until it is too late! If people are willing to go half way around the world for people whom they don’t know, don’t you think that there is something to this good news that you need to look at?

Don’t you think it’s time to accept this amazing gift of grace?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Fight the good fight! Finish the race! Keep the faith!

October 21, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
(2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV))

Have you fought the good fight? Are you still fighting the good fight? Are you even aware of what fighting the good fight means?

Paul loved to use sports analogies. He often spoke of running the race, finishing the race, running in such a way as to get the prize, and fighting the good fight. But, just what did all of this mean according to the one who gave us the encouragement to do just that?

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
(2 Timothy 4:1-2 (NIV))

To put this in a nutshell, we are to never stop telling people about Jesus. We are to never stop shining His light to a dark and dying world. We are to live, eat, and breathe Jesus so that in all we do, others will see Jesus in us. We are to never let the enemy stop us. I realize that I indicated that I could rephrase Paul’s words and put them in a nutshell, but everything that I attempt to do gives me more that I feel needs to be said. Maybe I should just take a step back and ask one simple question.

Do you love Jesus with all of your heart, with all of your mind, and with all of your spirit?

If your answer to this question is a resounding “Yes,” then let the world see what you have. Let the world learn of the grace and mercy that is freely given to all who would simply accept. Let the world see that you are set apart from the world, that you choose to not follow the sinful ways of this world. It is said that the Word of God is sweeter than honey, and we know that Jesus is the Word made flesh. Share the sweetness of Jesus with the world. Let them see what He has done in your life. Let them know that what He did for you, He can and will do for all who will simply ask.

We are in a spiritual battle. If we choose to fight the good fight, that means that we do not simply sit on the sidelines. Professing a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is not a spectator sport. We are called to go and share the good news. We are called to share the love of Jesus with a world that hates Him and us. We are to take the fight, with His help and His presence, to the very ones whom the enemy has blinded with his lies. We are to share with them a lifeline to salvation!

Fighting the good fight is living your whole life for Christ!

Fight the good fight! Finish the race! Keep the faith!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What are you in step with?

August 15, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
(Galatians 5:25 (NIV))

I heard an old friend preach today. He stated that his message was the same as it was from the day that God called him to preach. He has often said that he was always very enthusiastic about the things that he loved. When he was called, he remembers God telling him to use that same enthusiasm and tell people about Jesus. I believe that he has kept the enthusiasm and nothing has stopped him from telling people about Jesus. Because of this enthusiasm, God has opened many doors for him to do just that. Things have happened that can only be explained as God because he was obedient to what he heard the Holy Spirit tell him.

We claim to live by the Spirit, but do we truly live in this manner?

Are you willing to go build a church because you answer His calling? Are you willing to go to the poorest areas in this country because you answered His calling? Are you willing to go halfway around the world because you answered His calling? Are you willing to trust and obey even when you have no idea where that calling is leading?

We say that we believe.

We say that we want to live by the Spirit.

Would you even be able to recognize the Spirit in your life?

Are you so engrossed in your worldly lives that you only give God an hour on Sunday?

What do you truly desire?

What are you in step with?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you prepared to preach the word?

March 2, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
(2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV))

Paul’s letters to Timothy provided some very clear instructions on what Timothy was to do while challenging the false doctrine that was being preached in Ephesus. These exact words are what we should be doing in our world today as we encounter the false teachings and the false gods espoused by the world. We, like Timothy, are to hold fast to the never-changing truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are called to share that truth. We are called to be His light in this dark and dying world. We are to stand firm in our faith and share that faith even when all around us appears to be lost. The truth of the Gospel can break through!

Sadly, there will come a day when no one will want to hear the truth. If you look at the current situations and events in this world today, we are getting closer and closer to that day. People are fulfilling the next words to Timothy in an ever-increasing, ever escalating fashion.

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
(2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NIV))

They will turn their ears away from the truth!

I am seeing more and more that people are calling good evil and evil good. I am seeing more and more where people will believe anything but the truth. I am seeing an outright hatred of the truth!

We are called to stand firm and to persevere even in the face of such adversity.

But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
(2 Timothy 4:5 (NIV))

Discharge all the duties of your ministry!

I can hear your thoughts as I write this. Many of you are thinking that you don’t have a ministry and that ministries are for the “professional” evangelists. If you profess a faith in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, then you have been given marching orders. How you carry out those instructions is your ministry!

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))

Are you prepared to preach the word?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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How can you share the Good News?

July 28, 2021

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.
(Mark 16:15 (NLT))

It is so easy to sit back in our comfort zones and rationalize that we are doing our part. We know that there are so many in our own area that still need to hear the Gospel. Do we use this to convince ourselves that we don’t go anywhere? Still, there are those in our areas who do need to hear the Gospel! Are we doing anything about this? Are we willing to share the Good News with those whom we encounter on a daily basis? Are we willing to accept that our mission field is right where we are?

Think about that.

Is your workplace part of the world? Is your neighborhood part of the world? Is the grocery store that you go to part of the world?

Not all of us are called to go halfway around the world. Not all of us are called to go to a foreign mission field. If everyone who professed a faith in Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior had the same calling, who would stay home and witness to those who still needed to hear the Good News in our hometowns? Just because we don’t go to exotic parts of the world to share the Gospel doesn’t mean that we can’t share it where we are. In fact, if you stop and think about it, people in those places think that our hometowns are exotic and different. If they are believers, they like us, still have a calling.

Everyone!

Everywhere!

Two crucial words that we must take to heart for they are the very definition of who God loves and who He wants to redeem.

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.
(John 3:16 (NIV))

Do you desire to be so in tune with God that when His heart is broken, you shed tears? Do you desire to share His love with a lost and dying world? Everyone! Everywhere! Even in your hometown? Do you want to use this to reach those whom God loves? What if we personalized this in a different way?

For God so loved _________ that he gave his one and only Son, that if _________ believes in him, _________ shall not perish but have eternal life.

Think about your workplace. Think about your neighborhood. Think about the grocery store that you go to. They are all part of the world and there is probably someone at each location whose name you could easily place in the blanks to truly personalize John 3:16. Who needs to hear of the love that came to seek and to save the lost?

How can you share the Good News?

Copyright 1998 – 2021 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you have the faith to do something?

August 27, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

      What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
      But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
      Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.
(James 2:14-19 (NIV))

We are told that we will be known by our fruit. What fruit do you bear?

We are told that we cannot earn our way to salvation through works. Does this mean that we do not do good works?

We are told that actions speak louder than words. Are you actions louder than a whisper?

Too many members of the Body of Christ cling to the notion that because we are saved by grace and that we are freed from the law of sin and death, we are also free from doing good works. Too many believe that since good works do not get you into heaven, they are not needed. Nothing could be farther from the truth!

Works without faith will not save us. Faith saves us. However, faith without works is not a true manifestation of faith. When we are fully aware of the grace that we have been given, we should fully desire to share that love and grace with all that we see. We should not simply sit upon our laurels and falsely profess that we have our salvation and the salvation of everyone else is not our responsibility.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
(Mark 16:15-18 (NIV))

Jesus gave us the responsibility.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.”

Are you ready to accept the responsibility that Jesus has given us?

Do you have the faith to do something?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do these words echo your heart?

July 9, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.
Those who are far from you will perish;
    you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
    I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
    I will tell of all your deeds.
(Psalms 73:25-28 (NIV))

Have you told anyone about what God has done?

If you are like most people, you probably are more willing to tell what He has done specifically for you. No matter who the recipient of God’s actions may be, have you told someone of the greatness of God?

How can we fulfill the command from Jesus if we don’t tell anyone?

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.
(Mark 16:15 (NIV))

In order to preach the good news, we must be willing to tell of God’s deeds, for it is those deeds that have allowed us to be saved. We have no other recourse to salvation. We have no other means by which we can be saved.

David wrote about this, for he had experienced the abundance of God firsthand. He was willing to tell others about what God has done for him. He was willing to tell of God’s deeds even before God sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our salvation. Now, we have an even greater message to tell about.

Are you telling others about what God has done for you?

Do these words echo your heart?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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True freedom is being released from darkness!

July 3, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
      because the LORD has anointed me
      to preach good news to the poor.
   He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
      to proclaim freedom for the captives
      and release from darkness for the prisoners,
(Isaiah 61:1 (NIV))

How do you define freedom?

July 4th is the day that we, as a nation, celebrate our freedom, but does freedom go deeper than what we have defined in our Declaration of Independence?

What can we, as humanity, be held captive by?

There is tyranny. There is political oppression. There is physical confinement. There is addiction. I am certain that if we try hard enough that we can come up with other things that are capable of holding us captive.

What about fear? What about death? What about the fear of death?

We can celebrate our freedoms that were signed into existence July 4, 1776, and we should rejoice over those freedoms, but there is another freedom that is far more important.

Humanity was condemned by the laws of sin and death, for we had sinned against God. In our sin, all were condemned to be captives of death. All were prisoners of a life that offered no escape from the consequences of this sin. We were, to use a line from a movie, “dead men walking.” We had no hope.

God had another plan!

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 he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
(John 3:16-18 (NIV))

Jesus came into the world to offer us grace and mercy. His willingness to go to the cross for us paved the way for His resurrection. His resurrection gives freedom to all who will profess that Jesus is Lord and Savior.

July 4th is an important date in our history, for it gave us freedoms that no other government had ever granted to its citizens. No matter how great these freedoms may be, they pale in comparison to the freedom that was given to us through the cross. As you celebrate with family and friends, don’t forget where true freedom comes from. It is not through a man-made declaration written in ink. It is from a God ordained declaration written in the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. It is a declaration that was validated at the resurrection. It is a declaration that has no specific date. It is a declaration that each of us must accept for ourselves.

Only this declaration offers what no other can offer.

True freedom is being released from darkness!

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Will your harvest be plentiful?

March 26, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
(2 Corinthians 9:5 (NIV))

I think that it is safe to say that most people are not currently thinking about sowing, especially if it involves sowing into the lives of others. Think about that in the context of the life of Jesus. When He came into the world, it was not exactly a safe place to be. Did that stop Him from coming? He came into the world to teach and go to the cross to save us from our sins. He came knowing that He would die! Did that stop Him from coming? He had a mission and He did not let anything get in the way of bringing salvation to those who would listen and believe.

The current situation in this world is unprecedented, but we, as the Body of Christ, still have a mission.

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 28:19-20 (NIV))

We are to make disciples!

We are to sow the seeds of salvation into the hearts of all whom we encounter. How do we do this when the world is in such a state? There is a quote that is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. It says, “Preach always. When necessary, use words.” We can share the Gospel by living our lives as a living testimony to the power of grace. We can live our lives in such a way that people see a peace in us that just doesn’t make sense in this otherwise hectic world. We can live our lives in such a way that people ask why we are different. We can sow based on how we live our lives. We can plant the seed that others will nurture and God will reap.

So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.
(1 Corinthians 3:7-8 (NIV))

Do you sow into the lives of those whom you encounter? Do they see something in you that is different from the world? Do they want to know what makes you different?

Will your harvest be plentiful?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What are you capable of doing?

January 10, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
(John 15:5 (NIV))

It is human nature to think that we are invincible, that we are capable of doing anything and everything that we put our minds to. Is that really true?

I have read this passage many times, but today something caught my attention that has not come to my attention before. We read this passage and think that it means that without the Lord we cannot achieve anything. I realize that what I am about to say may have you questioning my thought process, but bear with me for a moment. If you read this passage again, pay very close attention to the part about bearing much fruit. Dare I say that this fruit is actually the fruit of the Spirit?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV))

Without the Lord and the fruit that we bear because of Him, we are left with our sin. We are left as the filthy rags that we are without Jesus!

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV))

I realize that we are to commit everything that we do unto the Lord, but I also think we need to understand what Jesus is speaking of in this passage. The things that we do in this world, unless they bring someone to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, are of no eternal value. Our circle of influence is perhaps two generations if we are so blessed. Even so, that circle is very limited if you look at the world. What is important are things that leave an impact on someone else’s life for all eternity. We can be a bad influence and not share Jesus, or we can live our lives sharing Jesus with all whom we encounter. Leading someone to Jesus requires something of us. We simply cannot lead someone to Jesus if we do not remain in Him and He in us. Our fruit is a direct reflection of our relationship with Jesus. Sharing the Gospel is our single most important responsibility.

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
(Mark 16:15 (NIV))

Can you see anyone doing this if they do not remain in Jesus and He in them? No one is capable of fulfilling this without Jesus!

What are you capable of doing?

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