Jesus is all of these and more!

August 24, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 (NIV))

It is difficult to find anything in this world that fulfills one of these traits, let alone all of them.

When was the last time that you encountered something that was true and also praiseworthy?

Have you ever encountered something that was noble as well as excellent?

Is there anything in this world that you consider to be right that is also admirable?

Have you ever met anyone who is lovely and is also pure of heart?

I just stated a few of the possible combinations, and I think that it is safe to say that you probably have not been able to think of anything that comes close to meeting these simple combinations of traits. If you doubt that, just look at the combination of lovely and pure of heart. Most people who the world considers lovely and far from pure of heart. Vanity, ego and self love are the usual traits that go with this outward trait of loveliness. I honestly don’t think that I need to go into details about the other combinations, for they are also difficult to achieve.

But, . . .

There is One who fits these characteristics and is worthy of our thoughts and praise! His name is Jesus! There is none like Him. He is fully God. He is fully man. He is the bright morning star. He is our Lord. He is our redeemer. He is our Savior, and He is sitting at the right hand of God the Father. He alone is worthy. He alone is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy!

Jesus is all of these and more!

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
https://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you pray to be cleansed and renewed?

July 14, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
     and renew a right spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (ESV))

Some translations say a pure heart instead of a clean heart. In your mind, what is the difference between cleanliness and purity? Have you ever given any thought to this? Whatever translation and whatever word that you use, David is asking the Lord to take control of his heart and to remove all instances of sin. It is the heart that directs a person. It is the heart that hides what you truly desire. It is the heart that guides our actions and our words.

But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.
(Matthew 15:18 (NIV))

Where does your heart guide you? What does your heart make you say and do?

I have been writing and sending these out for almost twenty-five years. Honestly, there have been times when my heart is not where it should be. My spirit is not where it should be. I am only human, and we all go through highs and lows, even when we profess a faith in Jesus. Sometimes we can get stuck in a rut, a routine, and miss the big picture because we are focusing on the small stuff. This happens to everyone, and when it happens, we must recognize our condition and bring it to the Lord. I have found that the greater the frequency of turning to God, the better the outcome, for He always brings cleanliness, purity, and renewal when you ask.

How often do you ask?

If you find yourself thinking that you are good and don’t have to ask that often, then I think a very thorough self-reflection is called for. All of us are human and as sinful, fallen humanity, we can’t go very long without sinning. We may make it a day. We may make it a few hours, or we may only make it a few minutes. No matter how long we may make it without sinning, it is not long enough.

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

Personally, there are several things that I try to discipline myself to do. Some of them include:
1. Being still in His presence
2. Reading and studying His Word
3. Praying for cleansing and righteousness
4. Praying in general

I could add more, but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment. I love to be still in His presence, yet, I am fearful for I know that I am a sinner. I long to be cleansed and renewed so that I may mature into the image of Christ.

Do you pray to be cleansed and renewed?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Fill your thoughts with things that are righteous in God’s eyes.

June 7, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 (NIV))

What do you think about? What thoughts come into mind when nothing else is there to distract you? What crosses your mind when there is no work or family or other issues that must be addressed?

What do you spend your time doing when you are all alone?

Are you proud of your answers to these questions?

Would Jesus approve of your answers?

It is so easy to slip into habits that are not righteous. It is easy to slip into things that go against the fruit of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
(Galatians 5:22-26 (NIV))

We are all familiar with the acronym “WWJD.” What would Jesus do is something that we should always ask ourselves, not only in our interactions with others, but also in our own thoughts and actions. It is our thoughts that often lead to our actions. If we think on things, it is human nature to take action. Be careful what you think about.

Fill your thoughts with things that are righteous in God’s eyes.

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What do you find is on your mind?

January 26, 2022

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 (NIV))

If ever there was a time to take these words to heart, that time is now. With all that is going on in the world, we need to focus, we must focus, on what the Lord calls true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. We must focus on things that are contrary to what the world tells us are important. We are at the time, and I honestly believe that we have been there for a while, when good is called evil and evil is called good. In fact, I just saw a news report that claims a European country has now labeled quoting Bible passages as hate speech.

Does that surprise you?

Do you think that things will get better in this world?

Do you think that you are safe because of where you live?

Take a look around you. What do you see? Is it anything like what you remember when you were much younger? Is it anything like what you remember from just a few short years ago? Do things appear to be rapidly accelerating with the impending end result that professing a faith in Jesus finds you being persecuted and possibly executed? This is happening in many countries. We think that it can’t happen where we live, but did we think that we would be where we are just a few short years ago?

“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))

This world is in a mess. If you study God’s Word, you know how it ends. Personally, I never thought that what I am seeing unfold right before me would have happened in my lifetime. It is time to focus on Jesus. He is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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 4:4-7 (NIV))

We have a promise that no matter what we may face in this world, the peace of God will guard our hearts if we focus on Jesus.

What do you find is on your mind?

Copyright 1998 – 2022 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you adding to your faith?

October 1, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.
(2 Peter 1:5-7 (NIV))

Is faith the beginning or the end of your walk with Jesus?

Let that question sink in for a moment and then let’s consider that it takes faith to turn to Jesus and accept Him as your personal Lord and Savior. With that in mind, faith is the first step in your walk with Jesus, but each step that you take should bring with it a maturity. Each step should bring with it a discovery and an understanding of a new trait, a new Fruit of the Spirit. We are not called to come to Jesus and then stay the same way that we were. We are called to mature into His image.

If we are called to mature into the image of Christ, it makes sense that as we walk with Him we begin to take on the very nature of Jesus. When we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we are sinners who do not know goodness. No matter what others may think of us, no matter how good we may think that we are, our goodness, our righteousness is as filthy rags. As we walk with Jesus, He teaches us what it means to be good. He teaches us what knowledge is pure and righteous. He teaches us self-control. He teaches us perseverance as we take each step with Him. He teaches us what godliness means. He shows us how to mature from selfishness to mutual affection and love. Each step in our walk with Jesus should result in something being added to our faith.

How is your walk with Jesus?

Are you adding to your faith?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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What are you living on?

September 21, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
(Matthew 4:4 (NIV))

What does your diet consist of?

We have a tendency to think that the only thing that matters is what we put into our physical body, and some people don’t even worry about this aspect of their existence. Far too many of us fill out bodies with things that are harmful and we never even think about the consequences.

How many people are actually concerned with the spiritual nutrition that they should be concerned with?

There is an old saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Think about that. If you spend time feeding your mind and your spirit foul and harmful garbage, eventually you will get to a point where that is what comes out. You are what you eat, both physically and spiritually.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
(Philippians 4:8 (NIV))

We must embrace the Word. We must read it. We must study it. We must strive to live by it! We must feast on the sweetest truths and the sweetest promises that humanity has ever been given. These sweetest truths and promises can only be found in the very heart of the One who created us. When your diet consists of daily time spent feasting on God’s Word, you grow to understand the very heart of God. This daily diet allows for a fuller life as God intended. It helps you to live in the present and promises an eternal life through the atoning blood of Jesus.

Far too many people are still living on sin.

What are you living on?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Are you gaining perseverance?

August 18, 2020

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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, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
(James 1:2-3 (NIV))

This has been the year for trials!

How is your faith holding out? Are you worried or are you at peace?

It seems as if every day we are told of something new to be concerned about. In fact, if it weren’t so unusual and unpredictable, I would find it rather amusing. I’m sure that everyone has seen the memes on facebook that joke about what is going on. People are laughing at the current state of things because if they don’t laugh, they could possibly cry. I’m sure you’ve seen things that you agree with, such as a rating for 2020 at only 1 star and a “Do not recommend” comment. Or perhaps you have seen things where people are asking if we skipped the murder hornets. Have you seen the one where they claim that 2020 is the new curse word?

It seems as if every time we turn around there is something new. Have you been able to stand firm in your faith during all of the events of this year? What does your faith tell you about the near future? Do you feel the Holy Spirit telling you anything about what we are going through?

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
(2 Timothy 3:1 (NIV))

Are you prepared for whatever may come? Are you able to stand firm? Are you able to face tomorrow knowing that your faith in Jesus as the Lord and Savior is what will see you through? I’m sure that you have heard the expression thick skinned. We, as the Body of Christ, must be thick skinned when it comes to the sinful, fallen world around us. We must realize that this is not our home. We are only here for a little while and then we will be with the Lord. We must never take our eyes off of Jesus. We must not allow the attacks, trials and testings from the enemy make us swerve to the right or to the left. We must persevere!

Are you gaining perseverance?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Have you gotten a taste of the Lord’s goodness?

June 29, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
(Psalms 34:8a (NIV))

Have you ever asked yourself why this passage uses the word taste?

Think about the process of tasting and eating and drinking. We slowly put something into our physical body via our mouth to see if we will like it and if it will be good for us. In essence, we are taking something that is foreign to our bodies and putting it inside of us. It becomes a part of us! We become intimately familiar with what we are tasting.

Ever since the fall from grace, God’s goodness has been foreign to our spiritual being. Due to our sinful nature, we are not sure what to do with what is good and pure. We sample, or taste, just as we do with physical food and drink to see if it is good. We taste of the Lord and find that His love and mercy is sweet and very good for our lives. We ingest bits of His Word and find that it is very palatable and we soon find ourselves wanting more. Just like physical food that tastes good, we find ourselves feeding on the Word of God and we find that it becomes integral to our lives. The more we taste, the more we want.

David wrote much about the goodness of the Lord. He understood it. He longed for it. He never wanted it to end.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
(Psalms 23:6 (NIV))

David had gotten a taste of the goodness of the Lord. As a result, he followed the Lord all the days of His life.

Have you gotten a taste of the Lord’s goodness?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Where are you?

May 4, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Before them fire devours,
behind them a flame blazes.
Before them the land is like the garden of Eden,
behind them, a desert waste–
nothing escapes them.
(Joel 2:3 (NIV))

I believe that we are in a transitional place, a place of growth and maturity. Each of us may be in a situation that has us literally between a rock and a hard place. We may find ourselves in the midst of so much fire and waste that we do not see any potential end. When we, as believers, find ourselves in this place in our lives, we must remember that God uses these times in our lives to refine us like silver.

This third I will bring into the fire;
I will refine them like silver
and test them like gold.
They will call on my name
and I will answer them;
I will say, `They are my people,’
and they will say, `The LORD is our God.’ ”
(Zechariah 13:9 (NIV))

It is in these times that one of two things may happen. We will either turn from God in our anger or turn toward God in our faith. It is God’s desire to purify us in our faith. He longs for us to mature into the image of Jesus.

I had a conversation not too long ago with someone who questioned whether being in the wilderness was a good thing or a bad thing. Take a look at Jesus after He was baptized. He went into the wilderness for 40 days. He did not do anything bad, yet He had to face the temptation before He could truly minister to those whom He came to seek and to save.

When we find ourselves in the desert or the wilderness, it is all a matter of our outlook, our perspective on the situation. We can either look at the situation and not see beyond our circumstances or we can see the “Light” of Jesus at the end of our journey. If we focus on the “Light,” then we should be able to stand firm in our desert and continually pray for righteousness.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(Psalms 51:10 (NIV))

Where are you?

Copyright 1998 – 2020 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
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Do you long to see God?

April 22, 2020

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
©

Blessed are the pure in heart,
     for they will see God.
(Matthew 5:8 (NIV))

Not too long ago I referenced this passage and made a statement about people seeing what they want to see. When I wrote that about this passage, I had no idea exactly what the next few months would bring. Today, I am more convinced of this simple truth than I was just a few short months ago. All that you have to do is take a look at the various reactions of people as we all face this unusual worldwide issue.

It is said that tough times will bring out the true nature of a person. I think that we can safely say that we have seen the gamut of reactions. Some people are panicking. Others are coming up with all kinds of conspiracy theories. Many are blaming the Chinese government, while others are pointing fingers at our own. It appears that many people are consuming more alcohol in a search for something to take their minds off of what is going on. Do you fall into one of these groups?

In addition to these, I have seen a large number of people who appear to be turning to the Lord. If you can judge the numbers based on what you see on social media, many people are turning to the Lord for peace. They are realizing that there is something going on far greater than anything that humanity can control, as if we can control anything.

Human nature is a funny thing. We are told that even in the midst of great tribulation, there will be people who will fail to recognize what is going on and turn to God. Others will turn to God in all things that they do. Somewhere in the middle are those who acknowledge God and only turn to Him in times of trouble. I realize that I have oversimplified the vast range of reactions, but in all honesty, those who long to see God will find Him in all things that they encounter. I think that something I recently saw says that very well. To paraphrase, there were two sides in a conversation.

Side 1: This virus has shut down the schools.

Side 2: Prayer is now back in the classroom.

Side 1: This virus has shut down the churches.

Side 2: The church is not made up of buildings. People are worshipping wherever they are.

I’m sure that you’ve seen something similar. As previously stated, those who long to see God will find Him in all things, while those who are focused on the world will never see God in anything.

Do you long to see God?

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